Friday, 31 December 2010

Bunny Love

Some squooshy woollen cuteness has made its way into our house.

Taking Random Knits' summer baby knitting advice on board (ie toys are great for summer babies), I decided to cast on this cheeky little rabbit Wednesday evening.

Our little Llama spotted him this morning with no ears or arms (just head, torso & legs), and after pointing out the 'Teddy' insisted on helping. Luckily I needed someone to put the extra wadding that had just been pulled out of the bag, back in. I was quite impressed that he recognised from the unfinished shape that it could be a teddy - the pattern is actually a base for a rabbit, bear & elephant, the differences are in the heads and ears.

Here he is, posing for a portrait on the new easel that has taken up residence in our living room.

Pattern: Lovable Toys by Marion Edmond, from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts (Rav Link)
Yarn: Bella Baby Sugar 4 ply (random 4 ply pure wool from Spotlight - originally purchased when on special so I could do some jelly crystal dyeing - guess who now has many out of date packs of jelly crystals).
Needles: 4mm knit picks. Knitted magic loop, cause I can only find one set of 4mm tips.
Mods: The base of the ears are sewn up a little, to disguise the fact that the pink inserts don't go all the way down. According to the pattern, they don't totally fill the inside of the ear, but I'd knit the the inserts a little longer next time.

All-in-all a project that I'm very happy with. Especially as it took about 3 days to make.

Next-up, a bear.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Christmas Goodies

Here's a little something I whipped up in time for Christmas.

Not for me ... but for someone secret.

The pattern is from one of my Japanese knitting/crochet books.

The only sewing is in the handle (so that it has a double thickness to keep a firm grip).

Yarn: 3-4 ply I had in my stash - some Patons, some Shepherd, some Spotlight special.
Hook: 3.25mm
Pattern: no idea as it's all in Japanese.

I've probably said it before, but it's worth repeating. I LOVE Japanese knitting & crochet patterns. Especially crochet. Soooooooo much easier to read that something written out in full.

And just to show you don't want to mess with the ladies of the CWA ... here's the cake mix for 'Christmas Cake #2' (from the CWA cookbook), before I attempted to mix in the flour (that's just a dusting on the top, the rest of the flour is in the sifter to the right).

I managed to cream the butter and sugar in the Kitchenaid (that's its bowl on the left) - but had to transfer to our largest salad bowl to stir in the fruit. It was lucky I decided to HALVE the recipe.

And the finished product ....

The small looking cake at the back is from a standard 20cm tin. Will have to have a taste test this evening.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Honey Baby

I stumbled upon this pattern while looking at shawl patterns with a friend. I loved it! But having been informed that I was not to knit it for any of my own offspring (hint hint), I decided to knit it for my niece or nephew, due to make an entrance in November this year (2010).

The pattern is meant to be reminiscent of a field of bees, especially when knit up in warm honey-yellows.

I discussed the enterprise with the wonderfully talented Knitabulous, who agreed to dye a super huge skein of yarn in honey colours. After making some (minor) modifications to my ball winder, I had a super huge ball of yarn - ready to for the long drive down to Melbourne.

The pattern was really well written - as I expected from Anne Hanson - and the changes in patterns kept my interest, and meant there were some good milestones to work towards.

I knitted the blanket/shawl nearly monogamously - there were some side projects that were more portable - hoping to have it finished before the baby arrived. Things were looking good .... until I hit the border. I love a knitted on border, it gives a lovely finish to a blanket, and there are so many nice patterns you can use. Unfortunately 816 stitches on the last round means 1632 border rows (plus 4 extra at each corner).

Samuel gave me a bit of extra time, arriving on December 1, with only 1/4 of the border completed. Luckily he's a patient baby (as is his mum), and didn't kick up a fuss that he had to wait, not only for the knitting to finish, but the rain and humid weather to go away. I finally got the blanket blocked on December 12 (while little toddler hands were away for the weekend).

Overall I'm really happy with the project. On re-reading the pattern, I think it may be a little 'overblocked'. But I felt pretty happy with the result.

Pattern notes:
Honey Baby by Anne Hanson (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Courtesy of Knitabulous (not sure on the exact base yarn) - there's a bit more variegation than what's visible in most of the photos, it's a lovely golden semi-solid.
Needles: 3.5mm Knit Picks (I even used the 'key' to tighten the tips - after I got sick of them loosening all the time).