Back to reality: Bye bye Disney World

Mr Snips, BK and I just returned from our first real family vacation just the three of us. We spent a couple of days at Disney, and I have to say it was magical. I was so sad to come home. And not just because we were going from 80 degrees, sunny and spectacular to sub-freezing, snow flurry conditions, but because we had a really lovely time. So nice, in fact, that I’ve already started daydreaming about what our next trip will be.Cinderella's castle in Magic KingdomAnd since we’ve arrived home and the snow has started in on us (which feels very early for Indiana, but the weatherman assures me we are nowhere near reaching record lows or snowfalls), the knitting has commenced in earnest.

I finished my Roseberry sweater last night (can’t wait to get some FO shots for you!), and I started a hat that is part of my very limited Christmas knitting while we were on holiday. Since we’ve gotten home, I’ve dithered on what to do next with the hat (Ahoy Princess Beret), because my initial plan was to make the worsted weight intricate cables version. But after I finished the ribbing and realized I had an opportunity to do a modification for an extra slouchy version, I’ve wavered. I think I only have enough yarn to do the regular version of the intricate cables, and I could MAYBE squeeze a slouchy less-intricate cables version out of my yarn – but I JUST DON’T KNOW. And it’s for a 21-year-old college student, and I don’t know what kids these days like (this makes me feel FAR older than my actual years – when did this happen?). I have 200 yards of MadTosh Vintage, and the pattern calls for 210 with non-slouchiness, but I’m feeling dangerous. Some research on FOs on Ravelry hasn’t helped make up my mind. Suggestions welcome!

FO: Fall in a Ball Shawl

You guys! I finished my Fall in a Ball shawl before fall was over!

Fall in a Ball shawl close-upI know, I’m surprised, too.

That was my goal though. My big goal was to have it finished by Halloween; my fall-back goal was to be able to wear it for Thanksgiving. And I blew both of those deadlines out of the water! I finished it a week ago Friday, and put it in to Soak immediately. It was fully blocked and dry in time for work on Monday.

I wore it all week like this:

How I've been wearing Fall in a Ball

I LOOOOOVE it. It makes me feel so seasonal, and happy.

Fall in a Ball Shawl back view

The yarn is Dream in Color’s September club colorway (I told you about how I fell for it here) and I knit with size 7 needles. The pattern is Bella Vista. I followed the pattern exactly.

Life has been… hectic, so I’m feeling pretty great about having this done in less than a month. This is the busy season for Mr Snips at work, which has thrown our schedules off quite a bit. We’ve been helped immensely by my mom and dad (BK and I owe them A LOT for all the help), but knitting time is still at a super premium.

Things are finally slowing down now, just in time for the leaves to be in their absolute most amazing fall glory. We’ve had a couple of days of fantastic weather, and I’m hoping we get to hold on to this perfect autumn weather for another week. Bring on Halloween!

Monday Musing: Fall in a Ball

Oh, my friends. I have an obsession. And this is it:

Fall in a ball - Bella Vista shawl in progress

I call it “Fall in a Ball.” But what it really is is Dream in Color Smooshy sock weight in the September 2014 club colorway.

Right before I left knit night this week, the Evil Temptress Susan (aka – the LYS owner) brought out the newly delivered club colorway, and there happened to be a few up for grabs. It was so beautiful, and seemed like “fall in a ball” – all of the beauty of my favorite season in one skein.

Now, I have told myself no more highly variegated sock yarns, because I have been sucked in by so many, and it’s often difficult to find the right pattern to that shows off the yarn and has some pattern, but a pattern that won’t get lost in all that color.

But this, this I could not resist. Autumn is my favorite season, and I just loved, loved, loved it and imagined it as a shawl to keep me warm in my constantly freezing office for the season.

I didn’t opt for the pattern that came with the club colorway, but I found this absolutely gorgeous pattern that I thought would be just right. I managed to cast on and do a few rows Sunday, and I can’t wait to make more progress!!

Sweetest knitting bag ever + new project!

Look at this adorable little bag!!

Cath Kidston cottage knitting bag

I picked it up back in May when I made a pilgrimage to the Cath Kidston shop in London. When I saw this knitting bag that looks like a cottage, I had to have it!

Not only is it super cute, but it is LARGE. I currently have 6 skeins of Cascade 128 superwash in it (a bulky yarn that takes up a lot of space!) and still have plenty of room to spare.

There are no inner pockets to this, but there is one large one that runs the span of the back with a Velcro closure. There’s so much room inside, though, that I haven’t used it yet. The only trick I think they missed was that the back and inside are plain red. If the inside had some coordinating print, I think it would take it over the top!

I don’t see the bag online any more. It went on super sale about a week after I got home (figures!) and then it disappeared. Cath Kidston still has some cute stuff in her craft range though.

Cath Kidston cottage knitting bag with Roseberry in progress

And what is that large amount of red knitting you see, you ask? It is the Roseberry that I started a couple of weeks ago for dear Baby Knitsnips. I found this pattern very early on in my pregnancy and favorited it. I was just obsessed with it. And I still am. I love the hood. I love that it is made with cozy bulky yarn. But most of all, I love the cables.

As soon as I saw this pattern, I instantly thought it should be red. It just felt like a Little Red Riding Hood sweater. I felt so strongly about it being red, that in my mind, the project on Ravelry was red. I was astonished when I went back to buy the pattern and the picture was of a BEIGE sweater. When did it turn beige? It didn’t change, of course, I just had a real vision for this sweater.

It’s a Ann Kingstone pattern, who I first found through these incredible Gryffindor socks (I love them! Who wants to knit them for me?! I both adore them and am terrified to knit them at the same time!). I’m excited to be knitting one of her patterns now, and I also have my eye on Ilkley Moor (maybe for my Irish yarn?).

I am using some of my favorite bulky yarn, Cascade 128 superwash, on size 10 needles for this project.  I’m making the 2-3 size, even though BK is mostly wearing 18 months clothes, and a very few 24 months, just to make sure we can make it through the winter. If we’re lucky, she may be able to wear it next winter, too! Regardless, it will be well-worn and loved. BK spent most of the winter last  year in sweaters instead of a coat, because I felt like they were more comfortable for her and they kept her warm for our quick trips between the car and stores. I anticipate this sweater may end up being one of her most used this winter. I can’t wait to see that cute little face in this beautiful sweater!

Ten on Tuesday: Getting ready for fall

Well, my friends, much has been going on here at Chez Knitsnips. The most notable thing is that I managed to slice open my right pinky finger in one of my oven vent holes, and that has made both typing and knitting slightly challenging. I got my first set of injury stitches (4!) right across the pad of my finger, and I will tell you it hurt something fierce!

My recovery is moving right along now, so I’m up to participate in Ten on Tuesday with CaroleKnits again! The topic Carole has chosen for this week is “Ten things you do to your home to get it ready for fall.” Mine are:

  1. Decorate for fall. This usually includes some festive baskets.
  2. Decorate for Halloween. This includes a lot of things – and by that, I mean something in every room. I even put Halloween clings on the mirrors in the bathroom. I’m totally dedicated to Halloween!!
  3. Buy at least one potted mum. I usually kill it right away (on accident) – it is the only plant that we consistently don’t do well with at our house, but we keep trying!
  4. Decide on a Halloween costumes! So this isn’t part of the house, but very
  5. Buy, carve, and decorate with pumpkins!
  6. Buy Halloween candy. Yum yum yum. I have been resisting so far, but I dare say I won’t last much longer passing those bags of candy at the store!
  7. Stock up on coffee and tea. As the weather gets colder, the need to add an evening hot drink sounds too good to resist.
  8. Stock up on hot chocolate!
  9. Get out my pumpkin spice candle. Smells of amazing.
  10. Get out my beloved hand-painted ceramic haunted house that my mom made. Truly a treasured possession! (can’t find a picture of it at the moment – astounding, but true – but will try to share in a future post).

And there has been knitting going on, really and truly. I’ll share that soon, too.

FO: Gramps Cardigan

When I found out one of our friends was having a little boy, I had a little dig through the baby patterns I tagged on Ravelry before I found out Baby Knitsnips was a girl (I didn’t let a little thing like that stop me – I tagged ALL the baby patterns! :-)). And the project that really stood out at me was the Gramps Cardigan. I loved everything about it. I loved all the cables, I loved the shawl collar, and I loved the old man sweater buttons. Perfection.

So I purchased some HiKoo Simplicity at my LYS, because I like the way it felt, it was washable, and I liked it was both wool and acrylic. Plus, the light grey color I chose was lush.

I started the sweater before heading off to England on our family trip. I worked on the sleeves throughout our time in England, and was able to put it all together once we got home. Working on it in both countries was really important to me, because I was giving it to another British/American couple, and I wanted it to have a connection to both countries for them.

Gramps Cardigan - front view

I think it turned out really beautifully. There’s really nothing I would change about it.

Back of the Gramps Cardigan

The back has a nice wide ribbing to it, so I think it will fit him for a while, since it’ll have plenty of stretch. I made a 12 month size, even though he was born at the beginning of August, because I think it’s always better to err on the bigger side! He may even get two years of use out of it depending on how quickly he grows.

Front view of Gramps Cardigan

I didn’t really make any adjustments to the pattern – just knit it as instructed. I found the old man buttons at Hobby Lobby, and they were exactly what I was looking for.

I met the sweet little recipient about a week and a half ago, when he was only one week old. He is so sweet, tiny, and in that very newborn stage where he mostly sleeps and lets anyone hold him. And I think the sweater will suit him well.

Now, to wait for cooler weather so he can rock his cardigan. :-)

How to make the best burp cloth ever

My friends, one of the best gifts we got for Baby Knitsnips at my baby shower was some handmade burp cloths. BK LOVES them. They were used lots when she was tiny, of course, as a regular burp cloth, but also as something soft to put under her head so she didn’t spit up directly on her stroller, to comfort her as she fell asleep, to clean up tiny messes, to play peekaboo… They’re still in use today!

So when we found out that we had a friend having a baby, my mom suggested that I pass on the great gift and make some for my friend’s baby.

I heartily agreed, but I was a bit nervous about flexing my minimal sewing skills.

I believe the friend who made the burp cloths for me used cut-up receiving blankets. However, I went to JoAnn’s with my coupons and purchased flannel.

Mr Snips and BK went with me to pick out the fabric. We tried to pick things we knew would be special to the couple and their little boy. We settled on soccer balls, umbrellas (she’s British!), race cars, American football, and rocket ships. For the cloths I wanted to be the same on both sides (soccer balls and rocket ships), I got 2/3 yard. For those that I was doing different on each side, I got 1/3 yard. I made 7 cloths, and have enough to make at least 7 more.

Burp cloths

So how do you do this?

  1. Cut a rectangle the size you want. I used one of the larger ones BK had that I thought was a nice size. I don’t have the ones I made in front of me any more, but my guesstimate is about 11” x 5”. As you can see, mine aren’t all the same size (that’s fine – the baby is going to spit up on it!). For those that are the same on both sides, I cut so I had one fold to save the matching and sewing up.
  2. Put wrong sides together. Sew around all 4 sides, leaving a small gap to pull the fabric back right side out.
  3. Pull the fabric through the hole to be right sides out.
  4. Sew over the gap you left, making sure to catch your ends.
  5. Trim your threads and try to tidy up as much as possible.

A view of both sides of the burp cloths

That’s it! Easy peasy (after my mom helped me get started!). You can wash them in warm water and dry them all the way. They hold up amazingly and just get softer with each wash.

While I have to say my sewing is not the best, and there are certainly some uneven seams, they were made with love, and I hope my friend’s baby gets as much use out of these as we have out of BK’s. She’s due any day now, so we’ll soon see!

Stack of burp cloths