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

Ten on Tuesday: 10 things to do in a waiting room

After a long delay, I am rejoining with Carole Knits on Ten on Tuesday! The topic she chose for this week is 10 things to do in a waiting room. So here’s my list!

  1. Knit! That was an easy one, right?
  2. Blog. Sometimes if I forget my knitting, I draft a blog post on my phone.
  3. Play games on my phone.
  4. Watch TV. My doctor’s office usually has on HGTV, and I can’t resist an episode of House Hunters!
  5. Do work. That is both a benefit and a drawback of having a work phone with email access…
  6. Read. A benefit of having a Kindle app on my phone if I haven’t planned ahead to bring the actual Kindle.
  7. Check my social media.
  8. Read knitting blogs! :-)
  9. Shop online. Hey, sometimes I need some time to browse Etsy and Amazon.
  10. Roll my eyes dramatically, sigh, check my watch, and try to find a fellow waiter who is also exasperated and will complain with me!

Wow… so I never realized how much my waiting habits have changed since I got my iPhone. I’m kind of ashamed that so many of these are focused around my phone, when I like to think that I’m not on my phone all the time, and actually engage with real life!

4th of July wrap-up

I really love the 4th of July. I don’t really remember being that into it until we moved back to America from England, and I really appreciated what America was all about and the opportunities it provides.

It became even a little more special after Mr Snips became a citizen. And my heart did a little skippy beat when we started out for a bike ride yesterday and he stuck an American flag into BK’s little trailer, and we whizzed off through the cornfields to the park.

20140705-230323-83003339.jpgAnd I was never really that into cornfields until we moved back either. But considering I grew up in one (really), I don’t think it’s surprising that it feels like home. And nothing fills me up quite like green cornfields, bright blue sky and a red barn, like this one we passed on our bike ride.
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Growing up, Indiana often felt too repressive, small, not quite interesting enough. But going away and coming back, I’ve realized it’s a really nice place to live. Of course, the number one thing Indiana has going for it is that my family lives here – but there are other things. It’s got a nice capital city, but it’s not too big or overpowering. It’s affordable. It’s safe. It has open spaces. It has views like this:
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Sure, we’re a little backwards about a lot of things, and certainly no one would accuse us of being progressive, but we’re generally a kind, friendly people just doing our best.

And we’re just one of 50 states doing the best we can, still trying to hold on to the American dream, and figure out how we can contribute in this land of opportunity.

This 4th of July, I thought a lot about how lucky my little family is. That we’ve been able to make our home in the USA, and we have a wonderful place to live and grow.

 

Monday Musing: In Threes

My friends, I decided there were too many fingering weight projects in my WIP pile, so I decided to start knitting something worsted. What better project than the In Threes I’ve had planned since Christmas?

You see, when my Friday Night Knitting group gave me baby shower for BK last year, one wonderful lady made her a little In Threes in Liberty Wool, and I was just taken by it. I loved that it was a nice warm layer without the bulk of sleeves. I loved that she could wear it in the evenings as a layer before it got really chilly out. She even wore it as a layer to play in when it got so frigid this winter that no one’s heater could keep up and it was cold inside. In short, she got lot of wear out of it and I loved the look of it.

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So I purchased a different color of Liberty Wool (7829) right after Christmas with the intention of knitting her a bigger one for this year. Last week, I got itchy fingers to start the project. I purchased the pattern on Ravelry, pulled out my yarn….and realized I was at least a skein short on yardage!! I remember looking at the yarn requirements on my phone via Ravelry in the store while buying the yarn, and I even remember telling my mom that I would never need more than 2. Not sure how that happened…

Anyway, I went to the store again last week to see if they had more. I figured I would have to buy a different dye lot and do some alternating. But, to my amazement, I found two of my dye lot! I bought them quickly, thought I should buy a lotto ticket if my luck was that good (and then didn’t), and ran home to start. I LOVE it so far – the pattern isn’t too taxing on my stressed mind, and the color changes of the wool keep me guessing. Never mind that I will probably never need the 4th skein (which, in honesty, I bought because in my mind I needed that much, but when I got home and consulted the pattern I realized I did not – fool me twice!), it would make a lovely coordinated hat!

I’m zooming along on the yoke now, but will be spending the work week wishing I was finishing up this lovely!

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In fact, my plan is to have it done in the next two weeks. All of my current projects have been lingering for so long (like since October – yeek!!), I feel I need a quick win. I’ll have to try to carpool as much as I can this week to get in my knitting time!

What are you working on this week?

Ten things I’ve done since the last blog

  1. I got a really bad cold, and was completely and totally miserable for a couple of days – barely moving off of the couch. I got well just in time to…
  2. Go to England to visit the Mr Snips side of the family. We got to visit Dublin for the first time (bought some green Irish yarn there! – Coolree Merino/Silk in Eye-Balm Green!), saw family in England, attended my lovely friend Sarah’s wedding, celebrated BK’s birthday and explored London with my parents.
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    And then…
  3. Lost almost all of the pictures of those things when our camera memory card corrupted unexpectedly, and no one in the universe can recover them.
  4. Our flight home was cancelled, which resulted in an extra three days away. That meant we got to make a side trip to Wales, which was fun. But I was getting so tired and then we spent so long on planes that I got home…
  5. Just in time to get sick again! Only to start recovering…
  6. To go to England again just 6 short days after coming home! This time for a work conference. I left on a Monday, came home on a Friday, to find…
  7. That my mom, dad and BK had all developed various levels of cold/virus/nasty lurgy of some kind.
  8. Which meant that Mr Snips and I had to do some creative childcare to give my parents recovery time (my mom especially was very ill).
  9. Once I finally got back to my regular schedule, I have come down with Cold #3 in just 7 short weeks!
  10. BK has decided since my return home that it is awesome to get up at 4:30 every morning.

So, in short, I am tired, sick, and feel totally drained. There is a little knitting going on here and there, and I’m finding my sporadic work on it relaxing and a little return to sanity. I’m working very hard on my Bigger on the Inside shawl, because my knit-a-long partner has finished hers, I’ve been working on it since October, and I’m starting to feel guilty it isn’t done.  What are you working on??

Ten on Tuesday: Things my mom taught me

I was so excited when I found out that Carole had picked 10 Things My Mom Taught Me as today’s Ten on Tuesday topic. Since we’re coming up to Mother’s Day, it’s perfect timing and since my mom has taught me approximately 10 million great things, this should be an easy one.

  1. What unconditional love is. No one loves as hard as my mom, and she is always an amazing support for me.
  2. That although I am the center of her world, I am not the center of the whole world. She told me that while she would drop everything and do anything for me, that I should not expect that from anyone else. This is something I think a lot of people could benefit from learning. The world doesn’t owe me or you or anyone anything – it’s our responsibility to put good stuff out there. Which leads to…
  3. Do the best that you can, and be the best person you can be. My mom has always told me that it is my responsibility to do the best I can in everything. That at the end of the day, you can only be judged on the fact that you gave everything your best shot – from work, to school, to helping others, to being kind.
  4. That we have so much, and it is our responsibility to give to others with less. My mom is a powerhouse when it comes to this. I grew up in a very nice small town that preferred to ignore that there were many in the community in need. My mom worked at the school, and knew that wasn’t true. She single-handedly pulled together a food and gift drive of a proportion that would blow your mind, and was a one-woman show for 10 years. And she did hundreds of little things, like buying shoes for kids who came to school in shoes that were barely in one piece, and providing other necessities as she saw the need, all through the year. This made an incredible impression on me at a very young age. I have never forgotten the relief on people’s faces as they realized that they could have a real Christmas with a turkey and gifts. It made me want to be a better person. I am doing my own little contributions here or there, but I hope to one day find a way to make an impact like my mom.
  5. That you can completely fill something you make with love. I have so many things that my mom made me that I completely cherish. There are traditional things like blankets and holiday decorations, and also things like holiday dinners for the family (totally filled with love) and even down to a little lunch sandwich and a thermos of coffee.
  6. How to knit. Since I grew up to start a knitting blog, this was obviously influential. My mom taught me all kinds of crafts (and I still dabble in many of them), but knitting is what really stuck with me. I still remember the Christmas after she taught me that she bought me a full complement of tools – needles, stitch markers, row counters – and it was truly my gateway to never stopping. Here we are, somewhere in the ballpark of 12 years later, and I can’t imagine my life without knitting and the joy and friends it has brought me.
  7. One quality piece is worth more than a 100 cheap things. You generally get what  you pay for, and it’ll be worth your time and money to own that one pair of really great, comfortable, well-fitting shoes, than to buy 10 pairs of cheap ones that hurt your feet and fall apart after two wears. And this applies to pretty much everything (even yarn!). Sure, it means I spend more on fewer things, but I can tell you I hardly ever replace anything. I’m still wearing clothes and shoes from college, and you can’t tell. Because I’m buying nice stuff, she also taught me…
  8. To be meticulous. I am nearly religious in my pursuit to keep my possessions in just-bought quality – from clothes to furniture to books to my baby dolls. You should always take care of your things. You’re lucky to have them, and if you take care of them, they’ll last a lot longer. And this also includes a general attention to detail, because that’s important in life.
  9. And let go of some of the other things. While it’s important to be meticulous about some things, it’s OK to let go of others. Just because you can make something, doesn’t mean you should do that instead of buying it (sometimes your time and hassle and are not worth it! really!). And though you do your best to keep your things nice, sometimes there are accidents, and it’s important to keep perspective. We’re all healthy and happy, and we’re OK, even if I did ruin my favorite chair within an hour of bringing home my newborn (may still be having some trouble letting that one go). But I’m learning, really.
  10. How to be a mom. Most importantly, my mom has been an amazing example for me of how to be a mom to BK. While I don’t think I will ever be able to live up to her incredible example, I am certainly trying. I try every day to be to BK what my mom is to me.

Love you, mom. x