Thursday, March 20, 2014

Knitting with Baby

I finished a February Baby Sweater for my February baby the other day:

The yarn is Knitting Notions sport weight that I had picked up a couple of years ago, thinking to make something for Tadpole. That didn't happen so I thought to use the yarn for Sprout. I'd initially tried a bottom-up henley design of my own making (quick pic here) but ultimately decided that I didn't like the way the colors in this kettle dyed yarn flashed across the body of the sweater. So the yarn went back into the frog pond for reincarnation.

After I had knit the garter stitch yoke, I frantically searched through my Barbara Walker stitch dictionaries for a 7-stitch lace pattern to swap out for EZ's choice of gull lace. Nothing caught my eye and an hour later (precious knitting time gone), I settled in for gull lace after all. The knitting flew by - even the sleeves, which I might have complained about just a bit since I wanted this piece to be done - and the gull lace turned out to be the perfect stitch pattern for spreading out the slight variations in the yarn.

Miss Sprout even obliged for a photo shoot:

There she is with her serious face, contemplating the milk she's about to spit up all over her nice new sweater.

Here's how you can tell this is not my first kid: I wiped the spit up off the sweater and then picked the camera back up to continue shooting. Once we were done, I popped the sweater in the sink for the wash and wet blocking I should have given it in the first place.

My new little sweater model has obliged on a couple of other photo shoots, sans spit-up:

My Pomander cardigan fits reasonably well now with room to grow. I know I've said it before but this really is a delightful pattern, well written and full of thoughtful details. The designer has a gorgeous jumper pattern knit using Loft. I'm having visions of knitting coordinating jumpers for the girls. (Note to self: finish your current WIPs first!)

Another favorite: EZ's Baby Surplice Jacket.

These two may be my new go-to baby knits patterns. The EZ pattern has some of the same clever shaping as her BSJ and is also designed to grow with the baby. In other words, you don't have to worry so much about size - it should fit the recipient for a while (i.e. several months, which is quite a bit in baby time).

I've got another sweater for Miss Sprout on the needles right now and I'm making slow but steady progress with mostly middle of the night spurts of productivity. When her sister was this age, I found myself getting frustrated when she wouldn't go back to sleep in the middle of the night (or go back to sleep soundly enough to transfer to her crib so that I could go back to sleep, too). Looking back on that period, I wished that I had just focused on enjoying the snuggles and time with my small daughter. (I also realized that rocking a baby in the middle of the night was prime knitting time and the knitting might have helped me calm down a bit). I told myself that I would do better if there ever were a next time. Now that the next time is here, I can't say that I don't want to go back to sleep but the midnight wakings (and staying awake) are less fraught and I've had some wonderful times enjoying getting to know this new little person in our lives and making something for her to wear while I'm at it.

Monday, March 10, 2014


Late winter is birthday season at chez Tinks and Frogs. Mr. Tinks and Frogs and Tadpole share a birthday and collectively turned 34 last week. I made three batches of cream cheese frosting. Let's just say that my taste buds are readjusting to life with a bit less sugar. In addition to three different varieties of cake (chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for Tadpole, chocolate cake balls for her to take to school on her birthday, and carrot cake as requested by Mr. Tinks and Frogs), I also managed to finish up handmade gifts just in the nick of time.

For Mr. Tinks and Frogs, a new sweater.

This is Armas, knit in Tosh Vintage on size 7 needles. The original pattern calls for bulky weight yarn but I reworked the numbers for worsted weight since this was the yarn that called to me in the shop last year. (That's right, for his birthday last year Mr. Tinks and Frogs got the yarn and the promise of a sweater eventually).

How much yarn did I use? Less than I had bought, certainly. I know I have some unused skeins sitting in my desk drawer and, if I remembered how many I had acquired in the first place (which I don't), or looked in the drawer to see exactly how much I had left (a no-go at the moment since I'm holding a sleeping baby while I type this one-handed), then I might be able to give a reasonable estimate. Let's just leave it at "?" for now.

This is a top down raglan cardigan with a henley placket. Note that the placket is not centered in the design - it's slightly offset. Had I noticed this when I started knitting, I would have adjusted things so that the button bands were centered. Of course, by the time I noticed this feature, the sweater was essentially done and I wasn't about to frog a year's worth of work so that the front would be perfectly balanced.

The back, on the other hand, is just fantastic.

All in all, this one is a big hit. Interesting to knit but not too fussy for the recipient. (Actually, Mr. Tinks and Frogs is a big fan of intricate sweaters like these two.)

Ms. Tadpole also got a handmade gift: a quilt!

The points aren't always perfect but I'm still really pleased with this project.

I have a nice sized stack of squares left over that will become a something. And there is a similar collection of green batiks sitting on my shelf, destined to become something for Sprout. I'm thinking flying geese, perhaps. Probably giant geese so I have a chance of finishing before the end of my maternity leave.

Monday, March 3, 2014

New Addition

Two weeks ago we welcomed a new addition to the Tinks and Frogs family:

Sprout arrived on February 17 and was quickly garbed in hand knits. She's wrapped in an Hourglass Blanket and is wearing a hat loosely based on one her sister wore home from the hospital.

We're all home and doing well. I've even managed to finish up a few projects over the last couple of weeks. But more on that later - I've got a diaper to change.