Sunday, October 23, 2011

I wasn't going to make anything in pink... Baby Knits II

Hello, all!
I knew I said the next thing I finished (and shared here) would be some sewing for me, but my back decided otherwise over the past couple of weeks.
Since I most certainly will not turn this blog into an account of small pregnancy woes, and I don't want to desert it - and you! - either, I'm sharing another tiny knit today.
Baby Dress - Cat included for scale :)
Cat included for scale 
(but do keep in mind her build is closer to Maine Coon than Persian!)

Baby Dress

Project details:
Design: Super Simple Baby Tunic by Rebecca Gunn.
Yarn: Austral by Katia for the white; Crofter by Sirdar for the fair-isle pink (colourway is Loganberry).
I bought the Crofter on Ebay and was expecting more of a red than a pink; but as you can see, this is definitely in warm pink shades. This is why I decided to play around with some white to tone it down.

My alterations:
  • My gauge was a little larger than recommended, and I deliberately kept it that way, to make a slightly larger dress that should last the baby a while longer.
  • I knit this a bit longer, as a dress for early days (and probably a tunic for later)
  • I replaced the moss stitch at the bodice with garter stitch, as the moss stitch looked too muddy with the fair-isling yarn.
  • I cast on one extra stitch at split between front and back when joining for bodice.
  • Stripes distribution: white eyelet edging; 2-row pink stripe; 8-row white stripe; then all pink until 2 rows before bodice: 1 row white, 1 decrease row white, 2 bodice rows white.
  • I also knit buttonhole tabs in white for a better contrast with the front (and with the buttons), and to have them match.
Baby Dress
I'm not sure how much of this you can see (you'll see it much better in the picture's original size), but the buttons are in a gradation from light pink to warm fuchsia to pinkish brown - all of which are also part of the yarn's colours!

Seb and I are not huge fans of pink, but we both had to acknowledge how cute this turned out. Let's say pink is just going to be one of many colours we're going to dress our baby in. :)

Back is finally better as of yesterday (fingers crossed it'll stay that way for a little while!) and since the weather here brutally turned from blistering summer to early winter, I have, have to manage and find some time amidst my work (mid-terms, yay! - not) to crank out a coat very soon. As in, over the very next few days. I traced the pattern and cut out the coat and lining yesterday, so at least the worst part (for my back, but also because I hate tracing and cutting) is over!

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

All but done: Baby Knits (I) ~ Tricots pour bébé (I)

Hello, hello!
Today I thought I'd share baby items that are all knit up, and only need a bit of finishing.

Cardigan à empiècement arrondi
This round yoke cardigan is the very first thing I made for the baby, when we felt the pregnancy was far along enough to get started on concrete plans... I knit this in the Peak District as we were approaching the 3-month landmark. Knitting this first item for the baby was so very special.
Why is it not quite finished, will you ask? Well, I want to appliqué a little birdie to the lower left side of the cardigan - to bring more focus onto the buttons.
Cardigan à Empiècement arrondi

The following cardigan took up a lot more time, being knit on 3-mm (size 2 1/2) needles. :)
Sunnyside Baby Cardigan
The design is a freebie by Canadian designer Tanis Lavallée.
I wish you could see in person just how soft and beautiful this turned out, thanks to the alpaca yarn. Well worth all the time.
Sunnyside Baby Cardigan
Why no buttons yet? I just couldn't find buttons that matched the cardigan in softness of shade and material, AND that were small enough, so I resorted to making my own. I couldn't even find locally kits for fabric-covered buttons in such a small size, so I had to buy the kit online - and received it this week.
What I hadn't anticipated, however, is that such a soft, soft cardigan, would be requiring the use of a hammer. Let me tell you, covering tiny, teeny 11-mm buttons is a much fiddlier business than covering larger buttons for a coat.
Making tiny, tiny buttons for a tiny cardigan
(fabric is remnants of the Liberty used to make the skirt I'm wearing in the picture at the very top of the sidebar - blogged here.)

Lastly, this big, soft, cushy blanket was knit with worsted yarn held double and 7-mm needles.
Plaid torsadé de La Droguerie - blocking
The design is by La Droguerie - Plaid Torsadé, from their Tous les bébés de la Droguerie book (sadly not available online, and rather tricky to get even in France!).
I really like how this turned out. It is technically finished, and could be used as is; but I want to make this more special by backing it with a beautiful flannel, which hasn't arrived yet. I want this to be a classy, timeless, but also sturdy blanket that may last and appeal to our daughter for many years. Backing it will definitely make it more durable - and warmer, and even cushier!

I'll be sharing more details of each when they are 100% finished. :)

I am also almost done with the most adorable little dress ever, and should finish another baby jacket within the next week. At this rate, our baby girl is going to have a rather well-stocked wardrobe!

Next up though: more maternity wardrobe sewing for me! I mean, it's still very much summer here, which is rather strange (we've been breaking all-time records of temperatures this week), but autumn is bound to come eventually, right?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Humble but Necessary: Maternity Pillow Cover

Not all sewing projects can be as exciting as making a new dress; yet I imagine I'll be getting a lot of use out of my latest FO.
Maternity & Nursing Pillow Cover
Those of you who follow the podcast may remember I mentioned finding a French family company that made maternity and nursing pillows stuffed with 100% natural cork micro-balls, which I find more eco-friendly and healthy than polystyrene; and one of my plans for maternity sewing was to make my own cover for it.

I wasn't sold on the fabric when I first bought it, but I have to say it really looks good on the bed - Seb and I have always had a thing for blue, and most of our linen is blue.

Here's a view of the back, with the zipper - and a cat that somehow found her way into the pictures:
Maternity & Nursing Pillow Cover

As you can see, this pillow proved extremely popular the minute I put it on the bed. Within 30 seconds of discovering the pillow, P'tite Mignonne had worked out perfectly how well suited it is to support your back:
Maternity & Nursing Pillow Cover
I was thinking only the other day that I hadn't shared kitty pictures in a while. I certainly wouldn't have you think that P'tite Mignonne was neglected these days - it really has been quite the opposite.
Maternity & Nursing Pillow Cover - Kitty Approved

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Fluffy Fibers: Episode 08 ~ Inspiration Overload

Fabric for the nursery: Susybee Lewe by Hamil Textiles
In which I explain my sewing plans for the nursery and for myself, mention my knitting finishes and projects, share a small knitting design, and a recipe for healthy biscotti.

You can download the episode (57:39) here, or listen directly from the embedded player below (if it works on your browser).
Here is the direct feed for the podcast, and you can also find the podcast on iTunes.

~ Episode 08 Shownotes ~
1. Sewing Projects; 2. Knitting Projects; 3. Something Natural, Something Seasonal

No finishes this time, but lots of plans taking shape.
- Nursery decor - Pam's Place is the etsy store where I got the fabric for the nursery (pictured above). I highly recommend this seller. Fabric is designed by Susybee, and is produced by Hamil Textiles.
- Sweet Safari organic fabric line, by Alyssa Thomas
- Kwik Sew 3689 and Simplicity 2388:
Baby patterns!

       2.a Finishes
- Finished my Vitamin D cardigan. Blogged here.
- Also finished Sunnyside Baby Cardigan. Need to find buttons or to cover some myself.

      2.b Currently knitting
- Making progress on Plaid Torsadé by la Droguerie.
- Wanted to start on the Clara Dress but felt my yarn worked better in garter stitch; so I opted to start the Garter Stitch Baby Kimono instead. I am calling this Nymphéas, as I find the hues in my skein of Dream in Color Smooshy highly reminiscent of Monet's Waterlilies, AKA Nymphéas.
(I mention the Damson shawl I knit in a variegated Malabrigo sock yarn.)
My KnitPro bamboo circulars are not quite ideal for this project, though, so I would love to receive advice on more slippery circular needles in small sizes.

     2.c Other knitting news (42:26)
- Published a little design for a felted cozy for a MP3 player.

     3.a Advice needed on cloth diapers
I would love some feedback from people who have experience with cloth diapers; here, or on the Fluffy Fibers group.

     3.b Healthy Biscotti Recipe (47:14)
When you crave a biscuit but want to do without the saturated fats!
Preheat oven to 160°C (320 F)
  • 125 g = 4 ½ oz organic almonds, or 50% almonds and 50% hazelnuts
  • 250 g = 8 ¾ oz organic flour
  • 100 to 115 g = 3 1/2 to 4 oz cane sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 g = 1 ¾ oz organic sultanas
  • Orange rind
  • A pinch of salt.
Beat eggs and sugar vigorously – the more you beat, the fluffier it gets, the lighter the biscuits will be
Mix in flour and salt.
Add almonds, sultanas and orange rind.
You’ll end up with a big lump of dough that is rather hard to work. Transfer it onto a baking tray covered with a baking sheet. Shape the lump into a long loaf, that should be about 6 cm/2” wide.
Bake for 35 minutes. When the 35 minutes are up, take the loaf out of the oven, and cut it into thin slices, about 1 cm = 3/8” thick.
Lay the slices on one side and put back in oven for 5 minutes; take out of the oven again and lay the slices on the other side to bake for another 5 minutes.
You can choose to bake these for a bit longer if you want very hard biscotti (to dip into tea or coffee for instance).

Now all you need to do is invite a few friends over and enjoy the biscotti with them over a hot beverage - and some knitting!

Credits: Music: Piano Sonata in E-flat Major, mvt. 3 by Joseph Haydn, played by Mario Ajero.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Pretty Pregnancy Wardrobe: Belly-Friendly Cardi ~ Un gilet pour bidon évolutif

Version française: cliquez ici (et décochez l'autre case)
English version: click here

Hello, everyone!
First off, for those of you who don't listen to the podcast - Seb and I are having a girl!
As you can imagine, my head is reeling with ideas for her wardrobe. :)

Today, though, is about my own Pretty Pregnancy Wardrobe. This week I finished a major piece in the collection.
Vitamin D
Vitamin D Cardigan
(19 weeks)

This may well be my favourite knitting FO so far.
The yarn, first, is dear to my heart. Bought on our stay in the Peak District, made from local sheep (British Blue-Faced Leicester - of which we saw a great deal on our hikes), it is kettle-dyed with plants, in a colourway also reminiscent of the flowers encountered on our hikes in beautiful Derbyshire - Bluebell. Perfect.
This yarn drapes beautifully and is so soft. My only complaint is that it bled significantly onto my fingers when knitting (note to self: do not wear this over a white top!), but that's part of the charm with natural dyes.
The other thing I love is the tone-on-tone variegation of the yarn, which gives so much movement to the knitted fabric, and emphasizes the interesting construction of this cardigan.
Vitamin D Cardigan - finished and blocking!
(yes, the colour varies greatly depending on the light)
Project details:
Design: Vitamin D, by Heidi Kirrmaier
Yarn: Dazzle Sock by the Natural Dye Studio, in the Bluebell colourway; I used 965 m/1055 yds. Purchased at the delightful Purl City Yarns shop, in Manchester.
Needle size: 4 mm (US 6) and 3.5 mm (US5).
Project page on ravelry

Vitamin D
I can safely say this is the cleverest design I've knit in my (admittedly short) knitting career. With the radial increases and various series of short rows, the design and construction keep you interested throughout despite the looong stockinette rows.
I also like that it has equal visual interest at the front and at the back.
Vitamin D
I realize I am blabbering on and on, but I really love this thing. It is knit on smallish needles (for such a large cardigan - there's a lot of fabric at the front!) and the end did feel a bit tedious; but I was in serious need of it (which happens if you tend to knit very fitted sweaters that are utterly unsuitable to an ever-expanding belly). Last Sunday, I started on the second sleeve and vowed I would not knit on anything else before I was done with this. I started knitting industriously at 1 pm in front of a BBC miniseries DVD (the 2009 version of Emma, with Romola Garai), and finished the sleeve - and thereby the whole cardigan - at 10 in the evening.
Vitamin D
There! Baby and I should be toasty this autumn and winter. And I should be in the autumns/winters to come, too. ;)

Bonjour, tout le monde !
Tout d'abord, pour celles et ceux que ça intéresse (et qui n'écoutent pas le podcast) : nous attendons une petite fille !
Comme vous pouvez vous l'imaginer, ma tête fourmille d'idées pour sa petite garde-robe. ;)

Mais parlons aujourd'hui de la mienne, de garde-robe ; car cette semaine j'ai terminé une pièce de résistance.
Vitamin D
(19 semaines)

Je crois bien que ce gilet est mon ouvrage préféré depuis que j'ai commencé à tricoter...
Le fil vient de notre séjour dans le Nord de l'Angleterre cet été, a été produit localement avec des moutons anglais (Blue-Faced Leicester), et teint aux plantes, dans un coloris appelé "Bluebell", c'est-à-dire campanule... Les campanules, comme les moutons, nous en avons vu tout notre saoul lors de nos randonnées cet été. Ce fil c'est donc un souvenir en tous points représentatif de nos belles vacances au pays de Pemberley...

Voilà, je vous laisse avec des infos plus concises, et les photos...

Vitamin D Cardigan - finished and blocking!
Modèle: Vitamin D, par Heidi Kirrmaier
Fil: Dazzle Sock par the Natural Dye Studio, coloris Bluebell; j'ai eu besoin de 965 mètres. Acheté à Purl City Yarns, à Manchester.
Tailles d'aiguilles: 4 mm et 3,5 mm.
Fiche projet sur Ravelry
Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Vitamin D
Et voilà ! Le bébé et moi devrions avoir bien chaud cet automne et cet hiver.