Rainbow Woollies

I’ll keep this short today (don’t I always?) because I’ve got a nasty stomach bug and my brain is on vacation from the lack of sleep.  Taking care of a toddler, being pregnant, and having a stomach bug all at once is not my idea of fun.

These rainbow soakers make me smile even if I’m having kind of a crummy day.  I can’t resist anything rainbow, especially when it comes in a wee little baby size.  I have yet to lanolize them but once I do I’ll be using them (along with the several others I’ve made over the years) as a diaper cover for the belly baby.  I love the way that wool covers breathe, keep my baby warm, and look super cute all at once.  If you want pattern details, please visit my Ravelry page!

Everyone nests and prepares for baby in different ways.  While I’ve gotten out all our newborn clothes and diapers and started furnishing the crib with fresh sheets, knitting is my favorite way to prepare.  I’m constantly amazed at how tiny babies are and how small their clothes are.  They take such a small bit of yarn and time but I hope that the love I put into each project makes this baby feel calm and loved in her mama-made clothes.

Happy crafting!

My Nanook

This post has been a long time coming.  Two years ago when I had my daughter and spent many wee hours of breastfeeding reading through the Archives over at SouleMama, I came across this beautiful sweater.  I knew I had to make one and wasted no time in ordering some yarn from Knit Picks.  At the time I didn’t really know what characteristics made up a quality garment yarn so I ordered some Wool of the Andes, Knit Picks’ workhorse wool yarn.  I fudged my measurements because I was barely postpartum with my daughter, didn’t do a gauge swatch, then proceeded to spend almost two years knitting this pattern.  After spending six months on the lace collar I knew the yarn was going to be too itchy to be the cuddly sweater I was yearning for, but I just couldn’t give up.

After two baths (one in lanolin and the other in hair conditioner) the sweater is wearably soft but still just itchy enough to make it a small relief to take off at the end of the day.  I did take a nap in it the other day but I’m very pregnant and have a toddler so there was a healthy dose of exhaustion in that mix.  Either way, I love the color, the fit is snug but functional, and the pattern is lovely.  It also has the bonus of being incredibly warm and the perfect layering sweater in this very cold autumn we’re having in Germany.

So, first sweater? Check! Onto something else!

Happy crafting.

Skyrim Helmet Hat

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Not to be left out, my husband also requested a horned-hat (see unicorn here and dragon here).  This one is inspired by the Iron Helmet from Skyrim.  I took plenty of liberties with the design but I think the overall effect comes across.  Mr. Pickle is wholly pleased with it so I call it a success.  Now we just need to scout out a medieval market or Halloween party to wear these funky hats to!

Notes on construction: I freehanded it once again and used Lion Brand Hometown USA for the gray (just barely 2 skeins) and Red Heart Super Saver held double for the horns.  Some of the accessories are sewn on using sewing thread, which is new for me but I think it looks a little cleaner than sewing with yarn in some situations.  The eye piece can be tucked up into the hat to make it easier for the wearer to see.

This costume-hat-making is so much fun I hardly want to stop! But there’s an impatient baby in my belly who will be making her appearance before long and demands some new, cushy hand-knits when she does.  Maybe if the toddler takes a nap today I’ll snap some pictures of those WIPs to share with you all.

Happy Crafting!

My Little Dragon

In keeping with the horned-hat theme (see my unicorn hat here), and because my daughter loves dinosaur-type creatures, I made her a dragon hat!  For two days she wouldn’t take it off, inside or out, and I had the pleasure of watching a tiny dragon roar around my house.  Nothing better than watching my baby wear and be excited about something I made for her!  Plus, it’s a lot easier to laugh at the mishaps of toddler life when said destructive toddler is dressed like a dragon.  Toddler empties the contents of the silverware drawer while you’re trying to cook dinner? Frustrating.  Dragon empties the silverware drawer? Well that’s what any dragon would do, don’t you think?  Maybe I’ve been inhaling too much acrylic yarn fumes…

A few pattern notes: I freehanded the pattern and used Lion Brand Homespun, Red Heart Super Saver, and Lion Brand Hometown USA.  The tassels will need to be redone because they’ve frayed too much (darn LB Homespun and it’s fuzziness) and I’m thinking of adding some ribbons into them because, ribbons.

I’ve got another hat hot off the hook for Mr Pickle that I can’t wait to show you all…tomorrow!

Happy Crafting.

Unicorn Hat

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Selfies, selfies, and more selfies… because what else would a unicorn do?  I was selling at the craft fair this weekend and was so excited when I saw tons of wild crochet costume hats parading through the fair.  I just
couldn’t resist going home and making one for myself.  The yarn was all from my stash and I came up with the pattern as I went (sorry, didn’t write it down).  It took some convincing to get me to take it off last night, but I’m pretty sure my toddler approves because she’s been bringing it to me all morning and demanding that “Mama hat. HAT”.  Don’t worry, I’m hard at work on a hat for her today.  See you soon!

Happy crafting.

Swing Thing for Little Miss Thing

Hot off the needles is a new sweater for my little girl.  There’s a chill in the air that is best kept at bay by handknits, especially mama-made handknits.  The main color is a beautiful mystery yarn dyed by my talented mother-in-law and the contrasting purple is Shine worsted by Knit Picks in the color Crocus (I think).  Pattern is Swing Thing with a few modifications. I cut out the first section of garter so the neck would be more open and probably did a few more things that I forgot to write down.  I’m terrible at record-keeping when it comes to knitting!

I love how it gives the Peppa-Pig-pajamas-inspired-outfit a little bit of a boost in the fashion department.  Have I mentioned that my toddler is dressing herself? And that she will only wear two tops, both of them Peppa Pig tops?  We’re all about freedom of expression and whacky outfits in this house, but I’m not doing pink laundry every two days so she can wear Peppa nonstop.  Luckily this sweater was a hit and she hasn’t seemed to notice that Peppa is not on the front.  Whew.

In other news, my husband and I celebrated our fourth anniversary yesterday. And by celebrated, I mean we saw each other for about an hour before bed. But that was enough and it was lovely. Today we’re hoping to go do something fun and silly like bowling if the toddler allows.  I’ll leave you with my little love note to him because we’re sappy like that.

To K: A year ago, on our last anniversary, I bought this yarn for socks. I also bought a skein for myself. As you can see, only one sock is finished. It’s orange (because you’re fun, fashionable, brave, and appreciate a good yarn sale), they’ve been pulled off the needles many times by our toddler (because she is), and it’s knit with so much love and so many memories. I took this knitting with me when you had surgery and on so many car trips around Europe. It has certainly been the year of wool for me. In another time of our lives all four of the socks would be finished like they should have been today (or yesterday, but who’s counting?). But this is the time that we are in and all the things that have kept me from finishing the socks are all the things I’ve loved and experienced with you and our growing (crazy) family all year. Here’s to four years of weirdness and passion and to many more. I love you.

Happy Crafting!

Scobies, Sweaters, and Thread

I don’t remember pregnancy being quite so exhausting the last time around.  I probably wasn’t this exhausted last time, come to think of it.  When you’ve got a whole toddler-sized person to care for everything tends to get more complicated.  We’ve had more screen time in our lives over the last several weeks than I care to admit and exercise has been limited to very long walks as a family after supper.  My knees are sore from that time I went jogging three weeks ago and despite having purchased new running shoes I just can’t seem to push myself out the door to use them.

Many evenings have been spent with my feet kicked up on the coffee table and a small project in hand.  Last week I made myself some fingerless gloves from an old cashmere sweater I thrifted years ago and found sitting at the bottom of one of my fabric bins during the spring clean.  I chopped off one of the sleeves, used a jersey bedsheet for lining, and hand embroidered them with a bouquet of dandelions and a few bumblebees seeking pollen. They’ll surely keep my hands and wrists warm as we creep into autumn and hopefully will remind me of these hot summer days of buzzing bees and puffy dandelions.

I’ve also cast on for a new little sweater for my sweet little girl. We had a day or two of chilly days (Germany occasionally forgets that it’s summer) and I went into full, knitterly panic!  Everyone needs fresh, new winter things, especially those of us who have outgrown all the winter things that were knit last winter.  Did I say I wasn’t going to knit anything before my Nanook was finished? Hm, I don’t remember that.  And a toddler sweater is really such a small thing, it doesn’t really count as another WIP, right? The pattern is Swing Thing by Theresa Belville and it’s free on Ravelry.

Besides the knitting, the sewing, and the toddler-rearing I’ve been watching the scobies in my kombucha proliferate. I now officially have more hibiscus tea scobies than I know what to do with. I bought a couple large glass jars of pickles and promptly ate most of them so that I could use those jars for kombucha experiments.  (Pregnancy loves pickles)  Right now I’ve got one batch of my hibiscus kombucha undergoing a second fermentation with a vanilla bean and another jar of hibiscus and green tea that’s slowly growing a scoby.  It looks like I have a bit of an addiction. Now I just need to order myself a proper crock and get started on a batch of sauerkraut!

Happy crafting and take care.

Summer Cleaning and Crafts

The last several weeks have been an interesting balance of good and bad news for me.  If it’s all right with you, I’d much rather focus on the good news in this space.  On that front, I passed my exam, received my certificate, and I’m now a Certified Lactation Counselor!  This is a goal I’ve been working towards for over a year now and I feel so proud and grateful to be able to provide a service to women in my community in this way, now with the certification and new knowledge to back it up.  For the first time since my graduation from college I feel a real sense of accomplishment and professional worth. It’s nice.

Another good thing is that my husband and I have been working tirelessly at de-cluttering the house and so far we’ve accumulated 7 garbage sacks full of old clothes and items we no longer need! That’s a huge amount of space in our home that is now clutter-free.  We plan to drive these up to the thrift shop next week (hopefully after I manage to add a few more bags!).  We’ve also acquired a bit of new-to-us vintage furniture for our parlor area and it’s starting to look a bit less like a dorm room and more like an adult residence, albeit the residence of a family of nerds.

While the new fetus continues to gestate, we’ve been working on enjoying family quality time as well as some very important solitary quality time in an effort to bring balance and harmony to our lives.  With my solitary time I’ve tried to focus on reading  (Momma Zen is bringing me much needed peace) and making. While knitting is still causing me some nausea  and can only accomplish it in small intervals, sewing has started to occupy more of my time.  I organized three overflowing bins of fabric and turned them into three organized bins.  I tidied up my craft room enough that I actually enjoy going in there and sitting at my machine. My skills with the sewing machine are slowly improving and the things I’m making now look better and last longer than the things I’ve made in the past, so that’s something to feel good about.  The travel art folder pictured above is for a friend’s son and I’m hoping to make one for my daughter the next time life allows.

Today I worked on some slow stitching and embroidery while listening to the Woolful Podcast. Dandelions are some of my new favorite flowers after reading about their fascinating root systems in this month’s issue of Taproot Magazine.  It really got me thinking about what weeds are and what they signify in our gardens.  If I didn’t have a swarming, underground nest of yellow jackets wreaking havoc in my garden right now I would go out and see how many dandelions I could bring in for my crafting pleasure…but more about that next time.

Happy making!