Wednesday, January 6, 2016

When life gives you winter babies, knit sweaters!

I've been out of touch with my blog for most of the second half of 2015. We just got so crazy trying to finish things up around the house before the arrival of our new little girl (Doors, On bedrooms! A happy thought indeed!) And I was dragging about pregnant and sick. I did VERY little except barely keep up with the house and school. Then our new little bundle of baby arrived november 30th and life has been a crazy whirl ever since. I haven't done much in the way of costuming since then, but have finished off some christmas projects, and knit a bunch of baby items. I thought I would just post a quick summary of the things I've been busy with before we return to our regularly scheduled programming!

I didn't sew or knit much for Kitten before she was born because I didn't know how big she would be. I had two nice wool infant sweaters, one I had knit for Crash, and one mom knit way back when Ladybug was born. I swapped the buttons on those for girly colors and figured they would do. When she arrived at 8 lbs. 12 ozs and 22 inches it was obvious that those sweaters weren't going to last her long. She was also in desperate need of a little cap to wear when she went out into the main house, which can be a cold place, since we heat with wood. I spent my first two weeks lying on our bed with my new baby, nursing, napping, watching netflix and knitting.

The first thing I did was take the beginnings of a cowl which I had knit a few inches of the lace for, then lost the pattern/forgotten about for two years, and finish knitting it with a bottom up raglan pattern to make a cute little swing cardigan. I was orignially going to unravel this and start over with the yarn (handspun alpaca should not be wasted) but the lace I had knit was so pretty I couldn't bear to part with it. So I found a raglan cardigan pattern knit at similar gauge, decreased a few stitches evenly in the first row of stockinette to match the number of stitches in the cardigan body, and finished it off as a sweater. It turned out remarkably cute. Couldn't repeat it if I tried, but it's adorable!

I had a little of the alpaca leftover so I knit her a little lace bonnet Nice for days when the house is chilly, and for car trips. This is from a vintage pattern: Gift woolies for a new prince which was originally printed in the australian women's weekly. It was knit on size tiny needles and took almost forever (including user error that made me rip the lace back once) but it's a lovely little bonnet. Very functional and pretty.

After that I got  back to sweater knitting. My mom had given me a skein and a half of some wool blend yarn she hated working with (thanks mom....) which is about enough to make a baby sweater. I decided to make up the really lovely maile sweater. I had originally wanted to knit this for my besties little boy because it's hawiian and she's hawiian (the pattern on the shoulders is supposed to look like a Maile leaf lei). When I proudly showed her the pattern, she snickeringly told me the Maile leis are worn at weddings because they symbolize fertility. Not the most appropriate theme for a newborn sweater perhaps. I meant to make it anyway as a laugh, but didn't get to it. So now I've finally been able to knit it. Its an absolutely beautiful sweater, and she and I giggle every single time we look at it.

At this point i realized that it was almost christmas and I'd better get busy if anyone was going to HAVE christmas. Ladybug and I made about a gazillion dryer balls, the boys helped me make hot choclate mixes, and we were generally busy. I was super proud of Ladybug because not only did she help with the dryer balls, she picked fabric and trim from my stash and made lavender and rose petal sachets for everyone as her own personal gift. All by herself too, cutting, sewing, ironing, filling, and bow tying. She even wrapped them herself and made the most beautiful little cards for them. 
Dryer balls, handmade tote bag, and Ladybug's sachets.

meanwhile I madly knit and sewed any time the kids weren't looking. I did get everyone's traditional christmas PJ's made up, and got the boys boot socks knit. I still have to finish mittens for everyone and knit Ladybug's boot socks for the year. I need to spin some yarn up for her bootsocks, but I'll do that before I start any more knitting projects. I love this boot sock pattern it's plain vanilla but a great pattern. And last year I finally found a vintage mitten pattern that really works well. It's easy to knit, and makes a good dense mitten that fits well, stays on, and keeps the snow out. Last year's mittens really held up to playing in the snow. I expect this years will too! 
Christmas Jammies! The boys get nightshirts because they constantly complain that
Ladybug gets nightgowns and they don't. 

I was really sad about the number of thngs I didn't have time, or hands, for. Christmas baking was virtually nonexistant, and I didn't get any quilts done or the girl's christmas dresses made, which I was particularly sad about. I have the most lovely victorian baby gown pattern and was going to make a regency dress for Ladybug, and the baby gown up for kitten with matching trim and fabrics. It would have been amazing. However there is always next year, when I will start working on things in november and will NOT have a newborn who needs to be held every waking moment! 

The only thing I've gotten done since christmas is madly knit up a pair of soakers for Kitten, who was developing chafed areas where the elastic on her diaper covers was, which was not responding to either powder or lotion. So I knit up these two soakers and put them into the diaper cover rotation, particularly overnight and at naps when the elastic on her covers tends to get damper than usual. They're both cute, easy to knit, and functional.

I've got a few more small projects lurking around the dining room table needing to be finished, but after that I'm really looking forward to starting this year's Historical Sew Monthly. I hope to get a lot more entries made this year than last.  I also really hope to be more consistent about writing up the things I do and posting them. So much interesting stuff left to be done!!! 

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