Sunday, January 17, 2010

Finished projects

The great thing about the lull between finishing off work and a new baby arriving (I'll be 36 weeks on Tuesday - eek!) PLUS having my fatigue correctly diagnosed and treated as an iron deficiency is that I now have the time and energy to do a little knitting.

By the colours in the baby clothes one might make the prediction we are expecting a girl. All I will tell you is that I have four friends expecting babies within the next four months, as well as myself, and 2 of them have told me they are expecting a girl while one is expecting a boy and the fourth isn't saying. As I'm not saying. Let's just put it this way - our bub is showing remarkable dexterity in hiding at least part of the vital area during each scan, leading the operator to say "I think you are having a ** but we can't be sure as we can't see everything".

First up is a Baby Layette knitted out of a delectable cotton/bamboo blend, hand dyed by Wooltopia. Unlike the mass-produced bamboo/cotton yarns sold at Lincraft and Spotlight, this yarn is an absolute joy to knit and not splitty AT ALL. It is silk soft without being too slippery. I think it is a perfect yarn for baby clothes. The pattern is a modified version of the Pure and Sweet Layette published in Itty-Bitty Nursery. (Rav link) I'm not so thrilled with the pattern - IMHO there are far better patterns available free on line. I've already bought some more Wooltopia cotton/bamboo blend yarn and will be making a baby kimono out of it (plus probably matching hat, booties, etc).

Next is a Forest Canopy Shawl (Rav link), knitted in a Danish yarn, Kauni Wool 8/2 Effektgarn (a fingering/4ply weight yarn), in its most famous EQ rainbow colourway. It's my third attempt to make this shawl and the only one I've been happy with. I used 4mm needles and did 18 repeats of the main pattern (finishing with 323 stitches on the needle) - the original pattern calls for DK yarn, 5.5mm needles and finishing with just 195 stitches.

I used about 160g of Kauni yarn - if you only have one, 150g ball, finish at 17 repeats of the pattern.

I still need to block the shawl but even in its unblocked state it looks very, very impressive.

I was also super-impressed with the Kauni yarn. It is a little rough but certainly no rougher than Noro Kureyon sock - and the consistency and quality was far better than Noro-sock. There was not a single knot in my 150g ball. It is also the only yarn with long colour repeats to rival Noro - given a choice I'd definitely select Kauni over Noro in the fingering-weight.

Finally bellow are some bibs and bloomers made by the very talented Lis at Don't Tell Mamma. They are hand-sewn, made out of gorgeous 100% cotton fabric that can be thrown in the washing machine and the bibs are fully-revisable. Lis sent them to me as part of a swap for some of my excess yarn stash. I think they'd make an ideal practical and unique gift for any new parent.

Bib fronts and bloomers

With the reverse side of the bibs showing

Having spent a lot of time in both speciality baby stores and the baby section of retail stores such as Target, I have discovered that it is often no more expensive to buy quality hand-made items than the mass-produced versions if you know where to look. I also have to sing the praises of enjoyfully! who sells hand-sewn baby bedding on eBay - The Peter Rabbit cot and bassinet sets we bought from her were actually less expensive and infinitely better quality than many of the mass-produced sets we saw in the mainstream stores.

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