Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hospital Hat

It has been while since I did a baby knit - this adorable little hat is for a cousin that will become a father in just a few weeks time.  The baby shower is this coming weekend.

I received this yarn from a friend and I am happy to take this lovely, beautiful, organic cotton yarn (Blue Sky Alpaca) and transform it into a little hat for a new little baby.  What a magical time - the birth of a new baby - full of the unknown, hope and fear all rolled up into a little person.

My youngest is on the verge of being 3yo and we are out of the baby years for good.  No more little ones for me and my husband.  Our oldest are 8yo (twins) and we are so enjoying growing up as a family.  It does feel that the older kids are moving us all along: from Sesame Street to Harry Potter, from Mommy-and-me swim lessons to overnight summer camp.

I am sounding more nostalgic about all of this then I actually feel on a daily basis - mostly I am happy to have conversations around the dinner table (even though they are still punctuated by impromptu shouts of "shake my booty" and a tossed carrot or two by the 3yo) and moments of growth and sharing with my growing kids. 

It is starting to feel that the haze is wearing off, the hours of really intense, not-so-fun work from the early years are transforming into different kinds of child-rearing work.  But work where you can see the result more clearly and directly.  The kind of thing when your 6yo comes home and says with genuine pride, "Mom, I remembered what you said about not wearing my wet boots all day, so I put them in my locker and wore dry socks and my tennis shoes instead!"  Or the kind when you watch your child accomplish a new skill on the piano.

But this hat is not about me - or my kids, or my immediate family - it is about a new baby and new parents.  New life.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Gift giving

This gift started over 5 years ago.  In September of 2008 I finished the quilt top (you can follow the posts backwards here).  I am not sure why I ultimately folded it up and put in on the shelf.  Maybe it felt too big to quilt myself?  I had the batting, the backing and top done, but never got around to finishing it.

This past fall I have had to prioritize my time in a way that is different from the years and months past.  No longer am I crafting to take a break from writing my dissertation.  Likewise I am not crafting to fill my days with something other than baby food and diapers.

Life has shifted in our household: we have four growing daughters now - no babies anymore - and no plans for more children.  I have gone back to work teaching and am spending the remainder of my time this year volunteering at their school.  I know that life balance is ever shifting and precarious.  This past fall tilted more towards the computer/classroom/meeting end-of-things and less towards the sewing machine/knitting needles/making end-of-things. 

This fall, however, I re-discovered this work from many years ago and called upon a neighborhood friend for help.  She is an incredibly accomplished quilter and after seeing my work agreed to complete the project for me.  I left her with the top, batting and backing.  Two weeks later I went back to her house and picked up this beauty.

There is history behind this quilt.  Briefly, the backing fabric was a cover for a blanket that was kept at our family cabin for many years.  It used to be bright fuschia, but faded in the sunlight.  I salvaged the fabric for later use when the cover developed a big rip down the middle.  More than this, however, is the additional story layer added by my friend that helped finish it.  She added a heart patch to the back - covering a small hole - that gives it the extra touches that will be discovered, and re-discovered in years to come.

I intended the quilt go back to the cabin, but my Mom wants to keep it around the house instead.  I don't blame her - it did turn out quite nicely.  This, along with a pair of upcycled wool mittens, were the only hand-made presents I gifted this season.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

WIP's: cowl, shawl and socks

There are three projects on the needles as of today...

First is a pair of socks for DH.  I made him a pair a year ago this past September.  He wears that pair quite a bit, but they are loose fitting socks owing to the seed stitch ribbing.  This current pair has a more traditional k1, p1 ribbing with some decorative cables.  Yes, the socks are still brown (his favorite color), but it means I know he will wear them.  And the cables make me happy to knit them.  The colors in photos aren't quite right - they are a lovely shade of light fawn brown.

The next is a cowl that was started in a fit of boredom, the yarn has fantastic colors, but I am not sure that I am going to love the final product.  I think this will be a gift for the girls' piano tutor who is learning to knit herself.  I know she'll appreciate it and the colors will suit her quite well.

And last are the lingering honeycomb socks.  I have one done and one to go but I can't seem to get motivated to start that second sock.  Not sure why.  They look pretty cool, no?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

FO: Daybreak

It has been too long since I was here in this space last.  

I have been knitting however.  I finished Daybreak a while back with two skeins that I picked up at the WI Sheep and Wool Festival. 

It is a wonderful knit - lightweight but substantial, hip but understated, eye-catching but not too busy. 

Based on the way this shawl is knit you can either block it with points, or go for a more rounded edge.  I tried the latter.  I had some points saved up at my LYS and put them towards the purchase of a set of blocking wires.  What a wonder they were to work with - and they gave me the promised rounded edge I was hoping for.

I have gotten many compliments on this shawl and am now tempted to try one of the other asymmetrical pattens - maybe Chadwick