Favorite Thing Friday: Soft Baby Blanket

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Somewhere in between making Christmas wreathes, wrapping presents, and making fudge, I found the time to do a little knitting. A friend of mine is having a baby, so I decided to make her a blanket to go along with a sloth stuffed animal I got her for the nursery (long story short, she LOVES sloths).

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Every baby should have a sloth.

On Pinterest, I came across a beautiful, yet simple baby blanket, (Cuddly Soft Baby Blankie). What drew me to the pattern wasn’t so much the ease, but the yarn that was used in the sample. It was gorgeous and looked so soft! Luckily, the pin lead me to a link that had both the pattern and a full description of what kind of yarn was used. A quick stop to one of my favorite online yarn stores (yarn.com) and I was all set.

The texture of this blanket makes it a little more interesting than a typical baby blanket. The bumps and ridges add a “squishy” factor to the blanket, while the lace row creates a little eye candy. While the texture creates a nice look, the super-soft quality of the yarn is what makes this blanket special. As per the sample project, I used Ella Rae Cozy Soft Prints in colorway 09 (variegated blues, grays, and purples).

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Funny story – I forgot to take a picture of the blanket I made, but I found a shot of one on ravlery.com.

The pattern itself is a 15 row repeat that uses four stitches: knit, purl, yarn over, and knit 2 together. It’s perfect for the beginning knitter that has mastered the stockinette stitch and is looking for a new challenge.

I love how this blanket turned out and was quite tempted to keep it for myself (I have two furkids that would love to snuggle up in it!). However, I was very happy to give it as a gift to someone who really loved it.

 

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2015

 

Favorite Thing Friday: Blanket and Booties

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Over the last few months, I found out two of my friends are expecting. Even though a I’m not a baby person (unless they have four legs and fur), the knitter in me was excited to dig into my baby gift patterns.

Initially, I thought about making little sweaters, but then it hit me that we live in a desert. It’s hot almost all of the time! Even it got a little cold, the kid would probably outgrow it before he got a chance to wear it. So, I decided to make much more practical gifts that could be used no matter how fast the baby grows.

It turns out I had a great pattern for a car seat sized baby blanket. I figured this was perfect for use as a quick snuggle and for when there’s a chill in the air (it’s been known to happen from time to time). Plus, it’s relatively small, so it isn’t a struggle for a new mom to stuff it in her diaper bag. I settled on a simple basket weave pattern with a garter stitch edge.

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Some turtle love for a Basket Weave Baby Blanket

The yarn is very soft and cuddly, but I honestly hated working with it. It constantly knotted up thanks to the fuzzies that made it soft. My working yarn was almost constantly entangled, which made it difficult to keep a steady pace. I will never buy Yarn Bee Effervesce, again!

At the last minute, I decided to make a pair of booties. I had some leftover sock yarn that I thought would make excellent lightweight, soft baby socks. I pulled out my trusty sock loom and whipped out a pair of tiny booties. These booties are for a baby boy and I think the colors couldn’t be more perfect!

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Teeny Tiny Baby Socks

I kept it simple, by constructing a tube sock instead of turning heel. This way, they’ll continue to fit as the baby grows. The yarn is a silky soft alpaca fiber, so no worries about itchy baby feet!

As for the January baby, I’m still pondering what to make for that bundle of joy.

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

 

Project Chapbook

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In December of 2013, I found myself in the middle of two challenges. First, I was tasked with editing and organizing twenty poems into a chapbook manuscript.  The next phase of the Writer’s Digest 2013 November Poem A Day Chapbook Challenge  involved submitting a manuscript and I didn’t want to miss the deadline. Second, Christmas was a week away and I couldn’t decide what to give a good friend of mine. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend, yet I wanted to give him something special.

It turns out the first challenge helped solve the second challenge. With a completed (and submitted) manuscript, I realized I could turn my work of art into a one-of-kind gift. Thanks to a new bookbinding technique I learned last summer, it was a snap to turn my chapbook manuscript into a handmade book.

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Front Cover of “Finding Gravity”

I made the cover using standard card stock in navy blue. The cover design was made using only one layer of a contrasting color and two black and white embellishment pieces. The title, along with the poetry pages was printed from my computer.

Inside the front cover, I included a decorative page that continues the black and white pattern theme.

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A decorative page gives this book a little personality.

The poetry pages were a unique challenge in that I had to make sure each poem was placed in the same place on every page, no matter the length or width. Through a little trial and error, I figured out the margins. Then, I measured each page to be a hair smaller than the cover. This was the tricky part because it’s incredibly important for the pages of a book to fit inside the cover and stack evenly. A lot of patience and a paper slicer made it possible to cut out each poem page with spot on precision.

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A beautiful page of poetry!

To bind the book together, I used a Japanese side stitch bookbinding technique. A simple tutorial for hole-punching and stitch order can be found here. Once I had the holes punched, I stitched my book together using thick beading thread. I coated the thread in beeswax to give it more strength and to make it stick in place as I sewed the book together.

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Japanese side stitch binding.

Before I knew it, I had a handmade poetry chapbook! My friend got a unique gift and I got to live the dream of seeing my poetry in the form of an actual book. As nice as it would be to see my chapbook published, I wouldn’t mind making another handmade version of Finding Gravity for myself.

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c.b.w. 2014

More Knit Happens at Christmas

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Christmas is almost here!  In my last Knit Happens post, I shared all the hats I made for friends and family, so now it’s all about non-hat knitted gifts.

While I made loads of socks last year, I couldn’t fully escape making more. However, I’m not complaining because I love to make socks! Along with socks, I made dishcloths and fingerless gloves for those who are not into hats.

Once again, friends and family should stop reading. You’ve been warned – don’t scroll down unless you want to spoil your Christmas present!!

I mean it, no peeking. Santa is watching.

As for everyone else, keep scrolling to see some cute knits!

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Last year, there was one friend who did not receive socks. I simply ran out of time! This year, I put her socks at the top of the list and made them first! These socks are made from Paton’s Kroy Socks FX in Celestial.

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Interrupted Rib Socks

Pattern: Basic Sock

Over the summer, a family member wanted socks so much she picked out the yarn while we were out shopping. It’s hard to refuse a hint like that! However, I added  a second color so she’ll have a little surprise when she opens her socks.  These socks were made with Yarn Bee Snowflake Wool Blend in Whimsy and Pale Aqua.

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Warm and whimsical!

Pattern: Basic Sock

At Thanksgiving dinner, a family member hinted that she really wanted another pair of socks. She’s done so much for us over the last year, I decided to whip out a last minute pair for her. To make things fun, I decided to use this opportunity to practice making straight needle socks. They turned out pretty good! I used Red Heart Fiesta in Harvest to make these socks.

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Straight needle socks in progress.

Pattern: Your First Socks

Over the summer, I got a little addicted to knitting cotton dishcloths. Luckily, two of my family members prefer them over sponges. I made a total of 5 dishcloths in a variety of patterns and colors using Lily Sugar’n Cream cotton yarn. Here are my two favorite:

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Diamond dishcloth on the needles (it’s since been finished!)

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A good scrubber!

Patterns from: Nifty Knit Dishcloths

I’m probably most proud of this final gift set. Instead of hunting down an easy pattern for fingerless gloves, I created my own pattern. I combined garter stitch borders with  2×2 ribbing  for the body of the glove. Then, I used a technique I learned from making straight needle socks to run a decorative seam up the side. The result is a pretty cute fingerless glove! This pair was made with Red Heart Shimmer in Plum.

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Glittery gloves.

Pattern: Check out my notes on Ravelry.

I was so thrilled with how the fingerless gloves turned out, I made a matching headband/cowl to go with them. Knitting in the round, I used the same garter stitch and 2×2 rib combination.

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Both a headband and a cowl!

Pattern: Check out my notes on Ravelry.

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Happy Christmas everyone! I hope you find something homemade under your tree this year. 🙂

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c.b.w. 2013