Thursday, January 29, 2009

short and sweet

What a lack of blogging around here lately! At least I have good reasons. Here's a short and sweet version of what I've been up to since my mom came:

- cooking big pots of soup to fill our freezer (helping my mom cook, mostly)
- visiting local thrift stores and finding some very useful and/or cute baby items
- walks outside every time it's above -10 C (and sometimes even when it's colder but sunny)
- long chats about knitting and family history (and sometimes both together)
- squeezing everyone into our tiny living-room for supper one night (5 adults and 2 babies is a lot for our little place)
- a visit to a yarn store where I finally jumped on the Noro sock bandwagon (thanks to my mom's generosity)
- lots of knitting on said Noro socks (so fun and pretty, they're hard to put down)
- 3 nearly sleepless nights of a growth spurt (thank goodness my mom was here to take turns sitting up with him)
- finding out Lev is now over 8 lbs, thanks to the growth spurt (I need to get pictures of the baby jowls he's developing!)
- and now I'm procrastinating about working on some felted slippers for my nephew's 2nd birthday (I made them too big, and have to rip back the 1/2 of one I already knit)

I think there's probably lots more, it's been such a busy week! Anyway, time to stop procrastinating. Have a lovely day, all!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

mum and me

My mom is coming for a visit today, and I'm really looking forward to it! She's here for 2 weeks, and is spending the first week with us, and next week with my sister. It will be a little crowded in our apartment, but I don't mind. She raised 5 kids, and I think she will have a lot of good advice and help to give us.

Things have been a little difficult for the last week, and I welcome anything that might help. I'm not sure if it's really colic, or him just reacting badly to something I'm eating (premature babies don't have very good digestive systems, it seems). It's so hard to watch him being upset and uncomfortable every evening, besides being exhausting for both of us. Anyway, it means no dairy or soy for me for a while, and I will miss the dairy so much! Soy I can live without, although I'm not sure what to put on my morning cereal. But I have daydreams about cold glasses of milk, creamy chunky of brie, and yummy yogurt with fruit... oh well.

In Fuzzy Mitten news, I will be releasing the Baby Penguin pattern on February 1. I think I will also be reopening my Etsy shop then, since we should be able to find enough time in each day to deal with the small number of sales I have there. Also, I will probably release the Mama and Baby Bunny pattern on March 1 (I plan to combine them into one pattern). I have no idea when I'll have time to make more kits, or take orders for custom toys, though. I'm enjoying having lots of time to spend with Lev, and I don't want to commit myself to a bunch of work too soon.

Friday, January 16, 2009

babies are hard to photograph

I just realized I haven't blogged this week - shame on me! I guess having a new baby means I'm a little busy most days. By the way, here's a cute collage of photos we took of Lev the other day. It took us three days to get them, because every other day he was too sleepy, too grumpy, or too messy. We're having a few of the photos printed to send to friends and family. It seems a little strange to be getting actual hard copies of the photos, since nearly everything we take is just kept in digital format. But grandparents like to have something they can put in a frame (we're getting a copy of the collage for ourselves, because it's just too cute!) He has such an expressive face, although he usually makes all his really funny faces as he's falling asleep. However, his eyes are closed then, so we can't take such good photos (but I find him endlessly entertaining!)

Thanks for all the lovely comments about the sock pattern and the TV show. Hopefully any of you who knit the socks don't find any mistakes. If anyone out there does know how to put a copy of my segment of the show on youtube, please let me know!

Now back to knitting! I'm working on a shawl, which has be going for several months now. I'm just not used to knitting something so large, and I get bored with it after a dozen rows or so. Today I decided to add a bit to the pattern, so I have something more interesting to look forward to every 5 pattern repeats. If I can stop myself from starting any new projects, I might just get the shawl done in another month or so...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

do you watch pbs?

You might want to check out the show Knit and Crochet Today on January 21 (you'll have to check your local station to see what time the show airs, if your station carries the show, that is). That episode is called Adorable Toys (click on Season 2, then Show 212), and my Fuzzy Lamb pattern is one of their features! This is one of the big secret projects I worked on last year, and had to wait so long to tell you! But the preview and pattern are up on their site, so I guess it's okay to finally spill the beans! (I borrowed their photo, since I didn't take one of the finished toy) (also, the pattern is slightly different from the original one and the version on Ravelry, but not too much so)

It was quite a surprise when they contacted me last spring, and the project was a lot of work in a short time, but I was so happy to be picked that I couldn't have been more pleased! It took me a whole weekend of knitting (about 10 hours each day, or more) to knit all the step-outs of the pieces to be used on the show, not including the finished toy. Of course, the whole time I was thinking, "I'm so glad I don't design sweaters!" I couldn't imagine knitting all the steps for a big project in the amount of time available. Candi, the lady who worked with me on the project, was so amazingly helpful with my million questions about everything. I must have seemed pretty naive when they first contacted me, but it all seems to have worked out in the end.

Sadly, I don't have cable (or even a TV) so I won't be able to watch the show. Maybe some of you will be able to let me know how it goes?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

baby mitten socks

This is actually the second pair of socks I knit for Lev. The first pair I made from a Debbie Bliss pattern, and they don't fit him very well. I guess sometimes you need to do things wrong, before you can figure out how to do them right! Anyway, I thought I would share how I made these socks, in case you feel like making some for a special little one you know. The pattern does not have a lot details, so if you do try them out, let me know if I can add anything useful (or if I've made a mistake, which is quite possible considering how much sleep I get these days).

Baby Mitten Socks
or Striped and Ribbed Baby Socks

These wee little socks use self-striping yarn for the main part of the sock, and a contrast yarn for the heel so the stripe pattern isn't disrupted. They take such a small amount of yarn, you could easily make several pairs from one ball of yarn, or use up some left-overs from other projects. I used a spare ball of Regia I had sitting around, and some random blue sock yarn for the heels.

Materials: 15 g of self-striping fingering weight yarn, 5 g of contrast yarn in same weight, set of five 2.25 mm dpns, darning needle
Gauge: 8.5 st/inch and 12 rows/inch
Size: newborn (approx. 9 cm or 3.5" foot)

Cast on 32 sts onto one needle with striping yarn. Transfer 8 sts to each of 3 more needles. Join in the round, and work [k1, p2, k1] around for 20 rounds. Drop this yarn, but do not break off.

With contrast yarn, k16 sts, placing them onto one needle. You will work back and forth on this needle for the heel.
Next: k1, p14, k1. K 1 row.
Repeat these 2 rows for a total of 11 rows, ending with a ws row.
Next: k11, ssk, turn. (15 sts)
Next: s1 pw, p6, p2tog, turn. (14 sts)
Next: s1 kw, k6, ssk, turn. (13 sts)
Repeat the last 2 rows until 8 sts remain. Break off contrast yarn.

Pick up striping yarn, and with extra needle, pick up 9 sts along side of heel, then knit 4 sts from needle holding heel sts.
With next needle, knit other 4 sts from heel, then pick up 9 sts along other side of heel.
Work across top of instep, following ribbing pattern. You should now have 42 sts.
Next: ssk, k22, k2tog, [k1, p2, k1] 4 times. (40 sts)
Next: k24, [k1, p2, k1] 4 times.
Next: ssk, k20, k2tog, [k1, p2, k1] 4 times. (38 sts)
Next: k22, [k1, p2, k1] 4 times.
Next: ssk, k18, k2tog, [k1, p2, k1] 4 times. (36 sts)
Next: k20, [k1, p2, k1] 4 times.
Next: ssk, k16, k2tog, [k1, p2, k1] 4 times. (34 sts)
Next: k18, [k1, p2, k1] 4 times.
Next: ssk, k14, k2tog, [k1, p2, k1] 4 times. (32 sts)

Next: k16, [k1, p2, k1] 4 times.
Work this round for a total of 15 rounds. Or, work enough rounds so the sock foot measures the same from the back of the heel to the beginning of the toes, as does your baby's foot.

Knit 1 round.
Next: ssk, k12, k2tog, ssk, k12, k2tog. (28 sts) K 1 round.
Next: ssk, k10, k2tog, ssk, k10, k2tog. (24 sts) K 1 round.
Next: ssk, k8, k2tog, ssk, k8, k2tog.
Break off yarn leaving a long end. Graft end of toe together with kitchener stitch. Secure all yarn ends. Knit second sock.

k = knit
p = purl
k2tog = knit 2 together
ssk = slip, slip, knit (or whatever left-leaning decrease you prefer)
s1 = slip one
pw = purl-wise
kw = knit-wise

Monday, January 5, 2009


I think it will be a while until I have anything Fuzzy Mitten related happening, so I hope you don't mind us filling this space with other things for a little while. Of course, most people do enjoy looking at cute babies, and Lev is certainly cute (I've even heard other people say that, so it's not just my biased opinion)!

Anyway, I was over on Flickr and spotted these cuties made by Peta, and just had to share! I wonder how many toys were knitted for this past holiday? I didn't manage any, but then I was a little busy. I should stop over on Ravelry one of these days, and see what's up with the group over there. I've been very lax with that end of things lately, if you've tried to contact me there. Maybe I'll have time to get to that tomorrow.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Full-time fatherhood

Lev at 3 weeks, originally uploaded by mricon.

One of the nice things about living in Quebec (in addition to federally-insured healthcare), is that the provincial government offers a very convenient parental leave program, which allows both parents to take an extended leave and just be full-time moms and dads. There are financial compensations in place to make sure that parents can afford to do that -- e.g. for fathers, the first 12 weeks the government pays 70% of the father's previous year's income, and after that, it's at 55% income for up to 25 more weeks.

I have opted to take full advantage of this plan, so for the next 9 months I get to be a full-time daddy. Since Barbara works from home, we have decided that she doesn't need to take advantage of this plan and will just continue with her Fuzzy Mitten work whenever she gets to the point where she doesn't need to wake up every 2.5 hours to feed Lev. :)

So far, I like being a full-time daddy -- and I have 8 more months of this to enjoy to the fullest.

happy new year

Hello to all my friends out there! Happy new year, even if I'm a bit late :)

I know I've been a bit behind in the updates here lately, but it seems I have just enough time in a day to eat, feed Lev, and sleep (and quite often not enough time for that last one). However, little Lev is quickly gaining weight, and should be over 6 lbs within a few days! My tiny newborn didn't last long, but I think he's cuter with some chubbiness on him. It's rather nice to not have that to worry about any more. Now if only the weather would be a bit warmer so we could get out in the sunshine, but really, it's just a normal winter here and our cozy apartment will have to do for a couple months yet.

I have been knitting a little - a little sock that is! Lev's feet are so tiny, we couldn't find socks to fit him. I have one done so far, but even with such little feet it's a struggle most days to find the energy and time for knitting. I had a bunch of projects I'd hoped to get done in the last few weeks before he was born, but those are all on hold now. One was a sweater for Lev, but I doubt it will fit him before spring, so I have some time to get that one done. I managed to knit on my shawl a bit in the hospital, but it's not even half-done, and I'm not sure when it will be. Oh well, I'm enjoying time with my little babe, and that's more important.