The Little Sheep Dress

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This little sheep dress took forever to knit. This little sheep dress annoyed me so much that I didn’t even know if I liked it when it was finished.

Would it fit her?
Do the sheep actually look like sheep?
Will the colour suit a two year old little girl?
Would the collar be too bulky?
Will the collar sit right?
Are the sleeves too full?
Is it long enough?
Is it too long?

It was almost with trepidation that I handed this little sheep dress over to my daughter. All of this work and she probably won’t even like it! All of those cables! Every few stitches, another cable! Even on the reverse side. Normally you don’t have to pick the cable needle up on the reverse side. But not this little sheep dress.

I hope she gets some wear out of it. All that work and that beautiful Italian merino wool! What a waste!

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And then Mother’s Day came along. We had booked a local cafe that had a play area for small children, just in case boredom set in before the food arrived. And what do I see when I arrive at the cafe.

Sitting in the high chair waiting patiently for Nanny was our little toddler dressed in her little sheep dress. In all it’s pride and glory, the little sheep dress was sitting there looking so beautiful. The little sheep dress was just waiting to be picked up and cuddled. It was warm and squishy and just right for cuddling, just like our little toddler.

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They both love the dress and now, so do I.
(By the way, Mum hasn’t cut toddler’s hair like this. It has grown this way all on it’s own. We are sure one day her hair on the top will grow.)

Pattern book – The Baby Knits book by Debbie Bliss
Pattern – Sheep Dress
Yarn – Filatura Di Crosa Zarina Chine
Link to Ravelry here

Granny squares sweater and a poor little tyke

I had planned to write this post today. It is the post that goes with a previous post about crocheted granny squares. But this morning when I woke up I reached for the iPad to check WordPress Reader to see what’s new on the blogs that I follow. And I found this. The Sweaty Knitter, Weaver and Devotee of Other Fine Arts blog post starts off by saying “Please tell me that I am not the only woman of a certain age who shudders and pales as she remembers the 1970s women’s fashions utilizing granny squares!” Uh oh. Hmmm. She goes on to say “Nor were children immune, poor little tykes, as can be seen of this picture of a child stoically wearing his granny square vest!” (The photos in her post are classic!) Oh no! What have I done to my little granddaughter! Poor little tyke. I have made her a sweater out of granny squares! DSC_0016 Funny thing, when I showed my daughter the granny square sweater pattern she didn’t seem very enthusiastic about it. I took it that she was just tired. What child wouldn’t want a retro granny square sweater! So off I skipped to my stash, selected my colours and gaily crocheted my granny squares while my husband drove us both to work. We travel two and a half hours each day to and from work so I get a lot done. I gave the sweater to my daughter a few weeks ago and funnily enough I haven’t received a photo of the grandchild smiling into the camera wearing the said finished object. She tells me her camera is broken.

Pattern book – Cute and Easy Crocheted Baby Clothes by Nicki Trench
Pattern – Springtime Jumper
Yarn – Bits and pieces from my stash (details on Ravelry)
Link to Ravelry here

Worsted weight toddler vest and a free pattern

I found this gorgeous post last week while I was on the way to work. The post was so beautifully photographed that I had to follow the link to the pattern because I wanted one just like that for my little girl. The pattern is called Neighborly and is provided free on Ravelry by Jennifer Casa. Aren’t some people amazing to let us have their patterns for free! This one is knitted top down and in the round with no seaming. The little neckband is knitted first in one long thin strip and then the stitches for the body are picked up along the edge of the neckband. The neckband is meant to be blocked flat before picking up the stitches but I decided that I liked the rolled look, so chose not to block it at all. DSC_0011 I had some gorgeous home spun yarn in my stash that I really wanted to use. I have had it for a while and it was only 1 skein of 130 grams so not enough to do anything with on its own, since I don’t generally knit hats or scarves. The homespun yarn would be perfect for the stripes and I had planned to use a purple marled worsted wool as the main colour. So that evening I did a sample knit with both the purple Misti Alpaca and the homespun yarn.  Unfortunately, they both ended up as different gauges and I was unsure whether I could use both these yarns together or not. The next day I spoke to my favourite local yarn store and we decided that it would be ok as long as I didn’t do too many rows in the homespun stripe at one time. I think it turned out beautifully. The pattern is written in one size (3-5 years) and uses yarn that has an 18 stitch gauge. My little girl is only 2 so I used a yarn that has a 20 stitch gauge and the size turned out just right. Perfect as we move into our winter down here in the Southern hemisphere . The mornings are starting to get cool but the days can still be very hot so what could be better than a cute little purple striped vest for daycare. IMG_0888

UPDATED May 2105 – Another nieghborly vest for our little girl.

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Pattern available as a Ravelry download
(free pattern) Pattern – Neighborly Yarn – Tonos Worsted Midti Alpaca and homespun Link to Ravelry project here

Double knit hoody for a newborn baby. Is it a bit too bulky?

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I was asked to make this little hoody for a newborn baby who was to be born into the cruel and harsh northern England winter. (I guess I can say this considering I am from the northern part of New Zealand where our winters provide us with a few frosts and lots of rain.) I tried to steer the requester away from this pattern to others using a finer 4ply but no such luck. This is the one she wanted her sister’s newborn baby boy to wear. One consolation, it was a lot quicker for me to knit this in DK than to knit a hoody from 4ply wool.

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Not only does this pattern use double knit, it also has a slip stitch which adds to the bulk of the finished garment. I have made this little hoodie before and complained about the bulk in that blog post as well. “Sigh”. Perhaps I should start listening to others and stop getting hung up on preconceived ideas. Some of the nicest things I have knitted have been requests that I would never have chosen myself.

(The blanket this hoody is photographed on was also made for Sebastian.)

Pattern book – Patons Newborn Collection
Pattern – Corey
Yarn – Peter Pan Merino Baby DK
Link to Ravelry here

Hooties bootees. Will they stay on little kicking feet?

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You may be aware that I don’t like baby bootees. I haven’t yet found a pair of bootees that don’t fall off those little wriggly feet. But when my girls ask me to make bootees for someone’s baby, of course I do.

Bootees I have made

I do own a baby bootee pattern book. I have Val Pierce’s Twenty to Make Baby Booties, which is full of very cute and modern bootees. From the book, I have only made watermelon bootees for a colleague’s baby from work, (who incidentally didn’t thank me so I have no idea whether they stayed on or were even worn.)

I also have a number of Debbie Bliss baby knitting books that have bootees in them but I have found that her bootees are always quite big. I have made one pair of Debbie Bliss bootees and they were so pretty.  I thought they might stay on with the little ankle strap but they didn’t really want to most of the time.

I have made a couple of pairs of bootees that go with newborn baby sets. Patons Jessica bootees definitely did not stay on but they fitted a newborn perfectly, (not much use of course, if they don’t stay on).

But on rereading about my Filatura Di Crosa bootees,, I have written that these ones do stay on! Perhaps I need to remember this pattern when asked to knit bootees. These ones were a perfect newborn size but the pattern also has other sizes to make. I think the ankle strap helped to keep these ones on.

Now that I am rereading my previous bootee blog posts, I have found another pair that did stay on. This is a free Mary Jane pattern that I added Jemima Puddleduck buttons to. Another one for me to keep in mind.

But the worst bootee pattern I have ever made were these Twilleys of Stamford  “pram shoes”. They were a nightmare to knit and once knitted, they were so tiny and the foot shape was a bit weird. Never again.

Hooties (or owl bootees)

So back to the owl bootees. I was asked to knit two pair of bootees for our baby Sebastian. This free owl bootee pattern was one of the two pair chosen by my daughter, for me to make. They were a top down knit, which I find a bit fiddly for bootees but they turned out tiny and cute. Just what I was hoping for. I was a bit nervous putting little buttons on as the eyes but I sewed them on very tightly and being a newborn size, I don’t think a newborn will manage to get the buttons off. On writing this post, I realise that I shouldn’t have used buttons. What was I thinking? I should have embroidered the eyes on. Maybe the mum won’t even use them due to the buttons being a hazard. If mum does use them and if I hear whether they stayed on or not, I will update the post.

Pattern website – Kedi Talks Birth (free pattern)
Pattern – Hooties
Yarn – Patons Dreamtime 4ply
Link to Ravelry project here

 

My new pink cardigan

IMG_4690 My Nanny knitted me a new pink cardigan. I think it might be a bit big for me. It might still fit me when I am 4 years old. I am only 20 months old at the moment. But my new cardigan is warm. It is made from merino wool, cashmere and silk, so it is nice and light, despite the size. My Mummy and Daddy took me to the zoo just after Nanny gave me this cardigan so I wore it and I think it looks pretty. It could almost be a dress with my cute polka dot tights. IMG_4681 At the zoo I saw lots of animals that I have in my zoo book at home. The cheetah was my favourite. It looked like Smokey who is my pussy cat at home. There was a big window at the zoo so I could see the cheetah but I couldn’t get in to pat him like I do with Smokey. IMG_4763 Then the next day my Mummy took me to the park to play. This is my favourite bike at the park. Sometimes there are other kids playing on this bike when we get there and I cry and Mummy says I must wait my turn. So I did and then the other kid got off. Here is a link to the stitch pattern nanny used. Pattern book – King Cole Baby Book 5 Pattern – Little Vintage Cable Jacket Yarn – Sublime Cashmere, Merino, Silk Link to Ravelry here

Little striped hoodies for cute little babies

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I have never had any success taking photos of hoodies, especially when there are no cute little baby faces peeping out from inside.

These two are destined for two second time mums whose babies are due this month. Neither of them know if they are having a boy or a girl (or if they do know, they are not telling). I hope one of them is having a boy so that they can have the blue one, and the grey one will suit either a girl or a boy. I guess if they both have girls, I will need to quickly make another one in a colour that isn’t blue.

The only reason I am adverse to giving blue for a girl is that my granddaughter didn’t have any hair (and still hasn’t got much at 18 months) and kept being mistaken for a boy. My daughter didn’t dress her in blue because she got tired of having to keep explaining that her baby was a girl, despite having no hair. One day she was wearing a pink dress and pink leggings and a dear old man came up to her in the shopping mall and said “hello little fella, you’re a cute little guy”. My daughter didn’t correct him, she just smiled and asked how his day was going.

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It seemed to take me forever to knit these little hoodies. Maybe that is because I actually made three. A blue and white one is on it’s way to North England for my little 6 week old grandson. Having to knit 12 little ears and then sew each of them together before stitching them onto the hood seemed to take so long. And the hoods seemed to take ages as well. But it was worth it. I just wouldn’t recommend making three of these in quick succession.

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I am a little worried about the grey yarn for a little baby as it has angora mixed with the merino and silk. I just hope it isn’t too furry for a baby. Unfortunately when I dug into my stash to find the wool for these little hoodies, my double knit stash was a bit low and this grey was the only suitable unisex colour I could find. My stash has since “blossomed” with a FIlatura Di Crosa half price sale at our local yarn store last week.

Pattern book – King Cole Baby Book 5
Pattern – Little Big Stripey Hoodie
Yarn – Shepherds Baby Merino DK and Cleckheaton Angora, Merino and Silk
Link to Ravelry here and here

Debbie Bliss Spanish Dress for our little toddler

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I first saw the Debbie Bliss Spanish Dress in a local yarn / fabric store when my daughter was pregnant. We both fell in love with this little dress and with so many gorgeous fabrics available, the possibilities are endless.  We were lucky enough to get the pattern in the store and gleefully took it home to store it for later when this little unborn baby has her first summer as a toddler.

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And this is our little toddler’s first summer.

I have a very small stash of fabrics (and rather a large stash of yarn). I don’t sew a lot since I do not have a sewing area set up in my house. My sewing area is my dining table and it is not very convenient to the people in our house for me to sew.

I found this gorgeous Beatrix Potter fabric in my stash but I didn’t have any yarn to go with it. The fabric is so pretty and I didn’t want to ruin the dress with the wrong colour bodice. I definitely wanted to use this fabric, so off I went to the local yarn store and found the perfect colour yarn, a beautiful soft ball of Sublime cashmere, merino and silk. Yummy.

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I also had a piece of cotton fabric with cute little cats in my stash and I was lucky enough to have the perfect bamboo yarn to match. So of course I had to make a second dress.

The bodices were a very quick and easy knit. It felt so satisfying to complete something so pretty in such a short time. I love the way the little frill is knitted at the hem of the bodice. I think that is what I like about Debbie Bliss patterns, the attention to detail.

But of course, once I had completed the knitted bodice, I had to put them aside until I had the opportunity to get the sewing machine out.

But my time did come and a few weeks later I had the sewing machine out on the dining table, the iron and ironing board set up and my sewing paraphernalia waiting patiently, and of course the family out for the day.

The skirts were so easy to make. The pattern was not terribly clear but I used the Ravelry site and read the comments of those who had already made the dress and got the answer to my biggest question.

How do I attach the skirt to the bodice? Of course. The answer to that question was to hand sew the skirt to the bodice. I know some people may have fancy sewing machines that would sew the knitted bodice nicely to the gathered cotton skirt without puckering the bodice or leaving unsightly stitches but mine is a very basic machine. I don’t mind hand sewing. In fact, this little toddler dress was made with so much love and hand sewing is a big part of that.

To see these little dresses being worn with such happiness makes all the hand sewing worth it.

UPDATED February 2015
A note from Mia.

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Nana just can’t help herself. She keeps making me these cute little dresses. Here is another one she made. I really like this one. It has ladybugs on it. She made another one exactly the same for Ruby’s first birthday. (Ruby is my mummy’s school friend’s baby.) This is me wearing my ladybug dress in the car at the Devonport wharf in Auckland.

Pattern book – Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine, Spring/Summer 2012
Pattern – Spanish Dress
Yarn – Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK and Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk DK
Link to Ravelry here  and here

A cotton cable cardigan for a brand new baby

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I have a friend a work who is due to have her baby at the beginning of the New Zealand summer. I wanted to make her baby something to wear and decided that organic cotton would be the yarn of choice and it would be made into a long sleeve newborn cardigan for the cooler days.

The design and colour were a bit more difficult to decide since we do not know if this little baby will be a boy or a girl. (That is only known by the mum and dad.)

I wanted a nice soft 4ply cotton so that the cardigan wouldn’t be too bulky for a tiny newborn baby. I had some cotton left over from a tiny singlet I had made for another newborn summer baby (in Darwin, Australia where it is extremely hot) so decided to use that.

Now for the pattern. I didn’t want to do anything lacy in case it was a boy. I didn’t want anything too manly in case it was a girl. But I had a sneaky suspicion that this baby was going to be a boy so I decided on soft cables for the front.

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This was a very simple pattern and it took me only a few nights to make. I call it my election cardigan as I made most of it while watching the New Zealand elections. The blanket in the background of the photo is the Debbie Bliss sampler blanket.

Pattern book – Sirdar 280 Early Arrivals Knitting Book
Pattern – Design C preemie layette
Yarn – Heirloom cotton 4ply
Link to Ravelry here 

Funky pants for Sebastian

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When my daughter found out that her step sister was having a baby, she asked me if I would knit Sebastian a pair of the pants that she found so useful when her baby was a newborn.

I have made many, many pairs of these pants but I had never made them with variegated yarn before. I love the way they have turned out. When I showed these to a friend of mine, she called them funky, so the name has stuck.

I had made the Puerperium Cardigan that everyone loves in this same variegated yarn and I loved it so much that I made these pants from the leftovers. Don’t worry, I put a note in her knitted parcel to say that she didn’t have to use the cardigan and pants at the same time. I think that would be a bit much for a wee bubba. (I got a bit carried away. There is a hat too in the same yarn. Please mummy, don’t let Sebastian wear all of these together.😄)

Pattern book – Panda Adorable Baby Knits
Pattern – Classic Pants with straight legs
Yarn – Shepherds Baby Wool Merino 4ply
Link to Ravelry project here

A Debbie Bliss baby blanket for Sebastian

 

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This is my third baby blanket I have made in the last two years.

The first one was for my first grandbaby boy, Memphis.
The second one was for my first grandbaby girl, Mia.
The third one is for my second grandbaby boy, Sebastian.

Sebastian hasn’t been born yet. He is due in the middle of December in the cold north of England. Sebastian’s mum is my husband’s daughter, so I let him choose the pattern. I think he chose wisely. This blanket made of aran panels with moss stitch in between, is cosy and warm.

The Sampler Blanket was designed by Debbie Bliss and is in a couple of her books, Blankets, Bears & Booties (aka Booties, Blankets & Bears) and The Ultimate Book of Baby Knits.

It is knitted in one piece, which means there is no stitching together of panels and no border to be knitted at the end, which is great considering the blanket takes such a long time to knit.

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I used the same yarn as I did for the other two baby blankets because they both still look amazing, even after so many washes.

This is my first blog post in a while because most of my recent knitting has been for Sebastian’s mum and I didn’t want to spoil the surprise for her, just in case she reads my blog. She has now received her knitting parcel so no surprise had been spoiled.

Pattern book – Blankets, Bears & Booties / Booties, Blankets & Bears and The Ultimate Book of Baby Knits
Pattern – Sampler Blanket
Yarn – Shepherd Baby Wool Merino 4ply
Link to Ravelry here

No-sew traditional baby booties

 

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I am not into traditional baby booties. I used to knit them many years ago for my babies but I’m not sure what it is about them now that makes me not want to knit them. I think the main reason is that they never seem to stay on those tiny, little kicking feet.

I did make these Jemima Puddleduck booties for my daughter’s baby when she was a few months old but I think they came off in the pram.
I also made these Debbie Bliss sandals but they didn’t stay on any better.
I made these watermelon booties for a friend at work whose wife was having a baby. I made them because they were cute but I have no idea if they stayed on or not. I didn’t get any feedback.

So you see, when my daughter saw a pair of traditional style booties in our LYS and asked me if I would make some for her friend at work, I accepted with trepidation. Maybe people don’t like booties anymore. Maybe booties are just not practical and won’t stay out on those little feet. Maybe they are  old-fashioned. But despite my misgivings, I agreed to make a pair for her friend.

Ah, but there was a catch. She also wanted me to make her friend one of these beautiful Royal New Zealand Plunket Society singlets and wanted the booties to match. The catch is that this singlet is made with 2ply yarn and so  I would need to find a 2ply bootie pattern. Surely it can’t be that hard to find. The internet and Ravelry are full of free baby knitting patterns. But no, how wrong I was. There were not many 2ply baby bootie patterns at all.

The singlet pattern is so pretty and many babies I have knitted for recently have been boys or the mums have not wanted anything “girly” so I really wanted to make this pretty little 2ply singlet. So I kept looking and finally found this free bootie pattern. They can be made with any weight yarn from 2ply through to aran / worsted weight. Same pattern, different size needles and the smaller the yarn weight, the smaller the bootie.

But this is a bootie pattern with a difference. This is a “no sew” bootie and here is the description of how they are made. “The sole of the bootie is knit first in garter stitch back and forth and the stitches for the side of the foot are picked up and knit in the round. The instep is knit back and forth in garter stitch and then the cuff is knit in the round until cast off.”

You can omit the flower on the instep if you want a more masculine or unisex bootie.

So here is the end result and I love them and feel happy that I was asked to knit them.

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I am not sure if they stayed on the little kicking feet or not but I am guessing they probably didn’t. But I know my knitting was appreciated. The mum used the singlet for her daughter’s photo shoot. I felt very proud to hear that.

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Pattern – No Sew Bootie-full Booties (free pattern)
Yarn – Patons Australia Dreamtime 2ply
Link to Ravelry project here

 

A pair of monster pants for Mia please

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I was at a lull in my knitting and wanted another project to do.

So I asked my daughter “what would you like me to knit next?”
She replied, “a pair of pants please.”
I asked “what type of pants?”
She replied “a pair of monster pants for Mia please”.

So monster pants she has and in colours of her choice.

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Mia says “I wear them at the beach and I wear them when I go for walks with my dad and my pink trike.”

Pattern website – Ravelry Download – Monster Longies
Pattern – Monster Longies (free pattern)
Yarn – Naturally Loyal 8ply and Moda Vera Pure Wool Extra Twist
Link to Ravelry here