Baby #4

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Friends, am I getting caught up on blogging?

Baby #4 was born just three days ago (although I mailed her gifts off two months ago…), and Baby #5 was born only last  week too (still working on his…)

Oh right, and Baby #6’s grandpa wants me to make something for him too…

Okay, maybe not quite yet.

ANYWAY, back to the newest baby…

Baby #4 got another cute little vest with chain-stitch flowers on it because I loved making that first one so much.

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Click this link for the free pattern, hosted on Ravelry.

And a giant granny square blanket because those are so lovely to work on, even with all the ends to sew in afterwards…

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Neither Gossy nor Bonk wanted me to send this blanket away. They were totally in love with it from the moment I started working on it.

But I still did (after washing it, of course!)…

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It was so soft and squishy in addition to being bright and happy.  I love granny squares and bright colors set off by neutral gray or beige!  Knitpicks Brava Sport may be a little splitty to work with, unfortunately, but it’s so nice once it’s all crocheted up. I’m glad to have found a new favorite lightweight acrylic to use for future baby projects!

I have to take a break from blogging for a while now as I finish up my presents for Baby #5.

I’m 75% finished with a blanket that involves both colorwork and granny squares, but nowhere near to started on a hat and cardigan set.

But no penguin faces this time so it should be way easier!!

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Baby #3

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Baby #3’s gifts also grew out of a silly idea on the part of his parents.

Back before they got married in 2014, his mom & dad made a truly hilarious engagement video of them costumed as a penguin and a giraffe and dancing around Chicago.

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Obviously their child should grow up knowing that his parents are some of the silliest, cutest people in the world.  Since they told me they were expecting a boy, I figured that he’d need to dress like a baby penguin to fit into his family.

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For the cardigan, I used the same pattern as baby #2’s green froggy one.  The little yellow booties (you can’t see it in the above picture of his parents, but dad is wearing ridiculous orange shoes too) came from this super simple free pattern.

That hat though… oh dear. Baby #3 would have gotten his presents so much earlier if I hadn’t set my heart on free-handing a color-worked baby penguin face hat.

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…I thought finally had something satisfactory, until I realized it was far from baby sized.

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Thankfully, making a second hat was so much easier.  Not only had I figured out how to pattern the color work, I also made the smaller hat by holding two strands together and using an I hook instead of the F hook I used for the bigger hat. SO MUCH FASTER!

I sent the bigger hat off too but I suspect that mom & dad might be wearing it more than baby #3 will be for a decade or so…

I wanted to make sure that giraffe-mom wasn’t forgotten either and totally lucked out by finding a giraffe blanket at Target.

Next, moving on to Baby #4…

Baby #2

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Back in late December, we had dinner with the parents of Baby #2 & Baby #3, after which we stayed up far past all our bedtimes drinking tea, eating cookies, and coming up with awful names for poor Baby #2. In a way, this was all Baby Mom #2’s doing after she suggested a partiality for the name of a certain Muppet frog…

Clearly I had no option but to lean into that evening of laughter with some of my presents…

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I free-handed the frog hat (taking inspiration from Frogcat clearly), and then used a free pattern for the cute little cardigan.

Since I put little feet onto the ties of the hat (I imagine it’s a whole frog sitting on Baby #2’s head like a helmet), I didn’t make booties to go along with this set.

Obviously, I didn’t want Baby #2 to grow up thinking that I believed they were just a frog, I made a couple of other things.

A kitty hat, as was requested when I learned they were expecting:

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And finally, I took the chance of to finish up a baby blanket project I’d had sitting around, in pieces, since 2011, and get it out of my UFO stash.

IMG_1134The white cotton came from an unraveled sweater I got at a rummage sale forever ago and used in some other projects over the years, whereas the gray/blue cotton came in that huge stash of yarn that a friend of my mother-in-law’s sent to me a few years back.

I’m so happy that this long-languishing project turned out so well! Maybe it was just waiting for the right little frog to come along…

Baby #1!

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Baby #1 got the simplest gifts, not because I love her mom any less than any of my other friends, but because when I checked in with her parents, it turned out she already had lots of people pledging to make things AND my friend had some disturbing memories of some horrid crochet dolls from her childhood.

Alright then, I won’t argue with simple and easy!

Having already made three grownup pink cat hats in January and February to send off to friends and family, it seemed right to make one for this little girl too. I recently just heard back from my friend that she sent her daughter to daycare wearing the hat on “homemade hat day” recently and it was a hit with the carers, so I count that as a serious win for all involved.

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The measurements for the baby cat hat are 8 inches across, and 7.5 inches from the top to the edge, by the way.  Rather than crocheting it flat and seaming the whole thing, as that pattern that went around online called for, I crocheted the crown in alternating rows of single crochet and double crochet until it was about 7.5 inches deep, then folded it in half and did the ribbing in the round (2fpdc, 2 bpdc) for another 3.25 or so inches. I used an F hook for this.

I also made a little vest for baby #1. The pattern is super easy to follow and I like that it let me use some neutral cream yarn and embellish it with a little bit of color.

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The pattern is May Flowers, available free on Ravelry. It’s not widely used yet and I don’t understand why. In this baby-gift mill I’ve been operating this year, I really enjoyed making two of these and they both worked up super quickly. For me at least it’s the perfect balance of simple, mindless crochet with a chance to be creative thrown in as well in the flower doodles. Check it out yourself if you’ve got baby presents to make…

2017 – Year of baby crochet!

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In Nov/Dec last year, I learned that three close friends were pregnant and all due in spring. By January, when I began jotting notes on what kinds of things I wanted to make for each of these new babies, I realized I definitely didn’t have enough acrylic yarn (always machine washable for little ones, I wouldn’t want new parents to feel obligated to hand wash anything). You know where this is going!

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Once the holidays were over and my new semester had settled into a semblance of routine, I made a huge knitpicks.com order (getting mostly Brava Sport) and started crocheting.

Over the next few days I’ll be posting the gifts I sent off to each of those three babies and then also something I sent to a fourth baby I learned about in May, this one due any day now to a former grad school professor of mine…

….and of course there’s also something I’m working on for another good friend whose little boy is due soon… more on that once I’ve finished and mailed it off.

…oh, and because I posted a partial picture of that project online, a family friend has asked if I might make his new grandson something similar…

In the midst of all these baby presents, I haven’t had the time or energy to work on much else in terms of crochet or plan out what to make next. (Oh, but some of the pink yarn from my January order was for hats for grown ups, one of my aunts in particular… 😼)

Given the way this year’s been going, I’m sure that as soon as I’m about to finish these next two sets of gifts, someone else will reveal their due date and I’ll have more projects automatically added to my list.

Good thing I got lots more baby-weight acrylic yarn from my Grandma when I visited her last month!

Looking back and looking forward

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The last time I updated this blog, I’d finished off my aunt’s shawl made from yarn unraveled from her favorite but falling apart cardigan. It made me really happy to finally try a pattern I’d had in my library for years, to send that yarn back to its owner in a pretty new form, and to not have to move that yarn to our new home, ~1000 miles from our old one!

In the six months since then (eeeek!), I haven’t made much, even though plenty of yarn did make the move with us!

What little have I achieved in my crochet since then?

1) I sewed buttons on my red granny cardigan (haha but didn’t sew in the ends just in case I still want to move them & also because I hate sewing in ends) and wore it to work as a subtle Halloween costume. So subtle no one seemed to notice I was in costume. I guess that means it can be part of my regular clothing rotation?

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2) I made ONE christmas present – a grocery bag in cotton for my brother and sister-in-law. The pattern is called Nonstop Net and it works up really quickly. Nicely written out AND charted, with helpful diagrams for everything. Somehow I still managed to mess it up and the sides aren’t exactly symmetrical, but it still works! And is big enough to hold a watermelon or pumpkin, I suspect. Haha.

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3) Saving the best for last: FROGCAT.  🐸 😸 ??

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Why frogcat?  It’s sort of a long-standing our-home-specific corruption of the word “groggy”  into “froggy,” which then has turned into saying “I’m a frog” instead of “I feel groggy.”   With Gossy taking many naps and then slowly blinking herself back into consciousness probably dozens of times a day, she is our home’s froggiest occupant.

Obvious, right?   Haha ok no, we’re just strange I suppose.

Anyway, Gene came up with the idea for Gossy to have a specific blanket just for her, rather than getting covered in our cast-off clothes or bathrobes.   He drew up an incredibly technical schematic:

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Over the course of a weekend, I translated this into fabric.  We abandoned the idea of a tie – no sense getting her tangled in it.  Now Gossy spends lots of time snuggled up under her frog, and months later, we’re still getting great amusement out of seeing frogcat.

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Looking forwards into 2017, I have my work cut out for me! Three dear friends are having babies in April-June, so it’s time for me to sort through my stash for baby-appropriate yarn (or go yarn shopping, oh my goodness!) and make some cute hats and other gifts.

Small projects like this are fun to look forward to.  I’m incredibly busy with my new job as my last six months of barely any crochet prove, but if I can make a frogcat blanket in a weekend, I can certainly make a baby hat or two in the same amount of time.

Happy new year and happy crafting to you all!

FO: Recycled Cardigan Shawl

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Over a year ago, my aunt brought me a beloved cardigan that had been darned a few too many times to keep wearing. She asked me if I might want the yarn. You all know how my stash of yarn has been overflowing in recent years and I’ve been trying to decrease its size, not increase it. But in this case, for this yarn that I knew I’d figure out how to give right back to her, I could make an exception.

It was fiddly to work with because it consisted of two unplyed stands: a tan/silver thicker cotton/acrylic one and a thread in either blue, orange, or brown. I managed  to keep it all together while unraveling and then again when crocheting it.

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Pattern: Silver Bells Shawl

I like the pattern a lot. Initially skeptical of doing the last round of picot stitches for the edging, I’m glad I did. They add an essential dimension to the piece and pull it all together.

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I hope she likes her “new” shawl!

Keep, toss, unravel

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We’re moving in about 6 weeks, so I’m packing and sorting through everything. Making some difficult decisions about things that, while I might have strong feelings about, maybe haven’t seen the outside of a box/closet since we moved in here 3 years ago.

I haven’t crocheted any clothing for myself in ages, probably because the pieces I already have aren’t things I love all that much.

The shrug below has already been unraveled. The yarn, which I like, will be better in something else.

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Pattern: Maui Shrug

The next two have both been bagged up and boxed away, even if they’re not perfect.

This red little thing is the first piece of lace I ever attempted. The yarn, Caron Simply Soft, is not holding up well even through I’ve barely worn it, but feeling gas won out over function for now.

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Pattern: Short and Sweet

This cream top still has potential, although I need to figure out how to stop it from sliding off my shoulders.

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Pattern: Babydoll Dress

This last piece is sitting on my desk note as I write, making me go back and forth on my decision about its fate. I think I want to unravel it?  It was a pain to make (read my Ravelry process notes here) and I’ve only ever worn it once. Crocheted dense summer wear doesn’t make much sense… but something is making me hesitate and I don’t quite know what. 

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Pattern: Red Hot Halter

What do you think?  Keep, toss, or unravel?

FO: Geeky baby gifts

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My marvelous cousins are having a baby this summer!

To get this little girl started off on the road to appreciating some great books, movies, and TV shows, I made the following geeky presents:

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Ewok hood (pattern)
Star Trek cardigan (captain, of course!) (Basic baby cardigan pattern)
Hobbit hooded cape (made up myself through trial and error, leaf pattern here)

I hope they like them and that eventually, once she outgrows them, maybe her stuffed animals and dolls can wear them while she imagines herself on Endor, captaining a starship, or on an epic journey…

WIP: Granny Square blanket (yes, still!)

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As of last Wednesday, all 144 squares are joined!  Just as my luck would have it, it’s gotten rather warm here too, meaning that the last thing I feel like doing is to sit under a heavy blanket and sew in ends.

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I spread it out over our bed to check the size – it’s almost perfect. I could see maybe doing a row or two of edging around the whole thing, also maybe extending the blanket over the sides of the bed a bit more, but it’s basically finished.

That is, apart from nearly 300 ends.

The cats love it.

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It is a blanket of friendship! And naps!

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