And Kelly Is Right

Somewhere, as I show you the pictures of today’s baby item, and say "Hey, what do you think this makes?"

Somewhere, my sister-in-law Kelly spotted that, knew instantly what it was, and just fist-pumped into the sky and yelled "YES!"

See, what that weird little zig-zag bit of knitting makes what Kelly believes to be the world’s best baby bonnet, and I know that she will admit to having a bit of a fetish for it. It’s the hat from the Bouncing Baby Set in Homespun Handknit, and Kelly has knit a lot of them.  A whole lot of them.
It’s the simplest little pattern, I’ve knit it here in BMFA Marine Silk (fingering weight) in a colour called "Buttah" and even though I hadn’t knit one in years and years, It took me exactly 32 seconds to memorize the pattern.  It’s genius, and creates – with a few tiny seams, a a bonnet that looks extremely odd and ill fitting.  It can even feel a little disappointing when you finish.

Somewhere now, Kelly is yelling "No, put it on a baby! You have to put it on a baby!" and Kelly is now making another excellent point, which is that even though this bonnet looks odd as fish before you put it on the littlest of heads, once you affix it to one, it’s compellingly beautiful. 

It is a simple thing, and Kelly, would have you know that it fits like no other bonnet you will ever put on a baby, and holds their wee heads just so, covering just right, and doesn’t come off and is warm and lovely and just what you want.  Exactly what you want.  That’s what Kelly is saying right now.  I knit this little one at a slightly looser gauge (intentionally – for once) and then fulled it ever so slightly.  The yarn is 51% silk, 20% sea cell rayon, and 29% merino, so the merino pulled in and fuzzed ever so slightly, but it didn’t loose the shine and softness of the silk and sea cell.

Kelly would tell you, if you could hear her right now, that it is exactly the way that she thinks things should be for new humans. Simple garter stitch, with no bells, no whistles – just a perfectly fitting cap to keep a newborn warm. I can hear her, sighing, imagining, remembering…and looking at that bonnet and thinking "Oh look, it’s just right." 

In fact, somewhere -after looking at these pictures, Kelly probably just cast one on. 

An ever growing pile

I know it’s totally unlike me (if we take that phrase here to mean "absolutely like me in every way") but I seem to be a little obsessed with making these baby things.  At first, when I said I was just going to churn out wee things for the baby until it came,  I was just sort of thinking of it as a way of amusing Jen while she waited. Now though, now I feel like if Jen and the baby are stuck in this together for an undetermined and pre-ordained amount of time – both of them rather uncomfortably, that they might as well be promised a wicked amount of cozy on the other side.  Yesterday’s baby item?

A completely charming little sweater from Carina Spencer.  (Oddly, when I picked it out, I didn’t see immediately who the designer was.  This means I’ve knit two Carina Spencer things – the other was Catkin, in less than two weeks.  Guess I like her.  Who knew? I hear she’s nice.)

The pattern is the Seamless Infant Kimono, and the yarn is a single skein of   Tosh Merino in Baltic.  It’s truly soft and pretty.  The pattern called for 275m for the smallest size, and this skein only had 192m… but I had a feeling it would be okay, and it really was. 

It’s a plain, good sweater, cozy and with nice wide sleeves so it’s easy to get on and off, and it closes with sweet little ties on the inside, and a single button on the outside. 

A midnight raid on my vintage button bin yielded up that perfect match for this fast, fun and easy knit.

I love this little sweater. Not as much as I would love a baby to put it on, but I’m hardly the boss of that.  I can wait.  I’ll just keep knitting.


Jen’s baby opted out of the thematically correct Labour Day arrival, and remains on a schedule only it can know, so I kept knitting.  Yesterday’s addition to the baby pile is a little flower hat that I find so charming that I can scarcely write of it.

It’s the Upside-down Daisy hat, from Itty-Bitty Hats, a book so chock full of extreme cuteness that it can give you an ovarian cramp just flipping though it. I recommend only occasional exposure.   I used Valley Yarns Longmeadow in coral and white, and scrounged the stash for a smidge of green leftovers for the stem.

Before you ask… no- I don’t know the sex of whoever is arriving – and I think it can’t matter one little tiny bit.  Whatever arrives will be a tiny human, and way, way too young to care about clothes and our idea of their gender role.  Clothing for newborns is to keep the young warm and amuse the parents, and I think Jen will be plenty amused by that little flower hat – no matter who I slap it on.  The worst thing that could possibly happen is that a stranger might guess wrong… and do you know what happens if someone can’t tell your baby is a boy?


Labour Day

Jen texted this morning – "Hey, it’s labour day, want to jump on a theme?" which was her super-cute way of saying that she’s still pregnant, and that it’s possible the state is beginning to wearing a little thin.  It’s hard to tell though, either she’s still in good spirits, or she’s truly reached that place of pregnancy where you no longer believe that it’s possible that this process results in a baby and that this is just your lot.  You and the bump.  Together, forever. There’s no hope you will ever go into labour… because that is not your destiny. Sure – other women go into labour and get babies, but they are the lucky ones. You, you’re just going to have to figure out how to have a life punctuated by trips to the bathroom every fifteen minutes.  This is what everybody who goes over their date thinks.  That, and eventually there’s some talk about how they can’t believe that they still have to sleep in the same bed as the jerk who got them into this.. but Jen’s still saying her husband is the salt of the earth,  so maybe there’s still a while to go. 

Personally, I saw the look in her eye the other day when I reminded her that the EDC on her chart stands for "ESTIMATED Date of Confinement" and I’ve now retreated to my standby safety position for women getting antsy near the end.  I’m just going to keep churning out the baby knits until there’s a baby to put in them.  I figure a continuous stream of gifts has to keep me in her good books, as slim as a volume as that may be.

On Saturday I went back to the Tulip sweater in progress.  It only needed sleeves and I-cord round the edges, so that was done in a snap.

Still no baby, so yesterday I used the leftovers from Catkin to make a wee set of booties. 

This strategy is my go-to for booties.  Quick, easy to remember, good for sock yarn leftovers… I like to keep a few booties around the house for baby emergencies – and they’re almost always these ones.

Today, well today I’ll start something else for the wee one – I’m off to hunt up some options. If nothing else knitting baby stuff shows Jen that even though she doesn’t think this will ever end… I do, and one of us should be sure of it.

Cat Days

This weekend marks the traditional end of summer in these parts – though if we’re lucky we’ll get a few more weeks before nature gets the memo.  Already it is certain that the dog days of summer are over.  The days are still hot, but the evenings and nights are cooling off, a sure sign that the real meat of summer is behind us. The Sock Summit so completely defined the first part of my summer this year, that I’ve tried hard to make August make up for it. I’ve still got a few boxes to tick off, and I shall apply myself desperately in the next few days to get there.  I’m yet to eat dinner on a patio, host a summer spin-in out in my back garden, swim in the pool in High Park, or find myself in a canoe, but I’m working on it. As much as I might have failed in the summer department, I feel like I’m going to nail autumn.  I’m making plans for sweaters and Rhinebeck and long walks in the leaves, during which I will have a shiny new scarf thing, because Catkin is almost finished.  It’s still wet, and it has no buttons, but it’s still a vision.

It took only 4 days of knitting, if you disallow most of the day before yesterday in which I discovered an absolutely critical error that resulted from nothing more that my own belief that I know what I’m doing, which clearly, I don’t.  I had to rip back about five 500 stitch rounds, and I’m really rather proud of how I behaved during that time. 

I’d like to stress that the pattern isn’t complicated or difficult.  At the outset of the chart for the  knit/purl chevron pattern I thought it was complicated for a second, but it’s not.  Each row follows a totally predictable k2/p2 pattern that’s a walk in the park once you realize that all you have to get right is the first few stitches of each row.  After that it’s a simple matter of looking at the rows before, and keeping the 2X2 flowing in the right direction.  It’s a pretty easy maneuver for the thinking knitter.

Perhaps that- the idea that this was all fine and made total sense and the comforting feeling that I totally understood the pattern was what led to my downfall, which was the inexplicable belief that if I understood the first chart I probably didn’t need to really pay any meaningful attention to the second chart, which turned out to be a completely ludicrous example of knitterly idiocy – and I accept all the blame for it. The two charts have nothing to do with each other.  It was like thinking I wouldn’t study for a Swahili exam because I did pretty well in grade 11 French.    

Whenever I have trouble with a pattern (and you may have noticed that it happens often enough for me to be able to sense themes about it) I always end up seeing some warnings about it on other blogs, or on Ravelry.  Knitters typing "Watch out!  Stephanie had a hard time with that pattern" or worse, some sort of subtle slag that implies that the pattern is as well written as a 14 year old girls diary.  (I shouldn’t have said that since some 14 year old girls are fine writers.  It’s mostly a problem with content.)  

I just want to point out that before anybody decides a pattern must be hard or tricky or whatever because I suffered briefly at its hands… keep this in mind.

It’s really, really hard to knit a pattern well if you don’t read it.