Crochet, knitting, astronomy & life in general.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Gosh I've knit a lot of things for babies over the years! I count 26 projects recorded on Ravelry, and I think there are probably a few that I never got around to recording on there. My favourite baby projects are always the cute little stuffies. There's just something magical about putting together a little creature and watching it come to life with its own unique personality. Some old favourites are the oh-so-clever duck-bunny, my grandmother's puppy, and Octie the Octopus (get the pattern here!).

My most recent creation was for my little one-year-old niece from Switzerland. For her first half-birthday, I had given her what the boyfriend affectionately calls the "Pants Monster", but would more accurately be called Kevin the Unibody Monster from the Monster Mobile pattern by Rebecca Danger from her book Knit a Monster Nursery. Here's what the original version I gave her looked like (or at least very similar to that, since that's a version I made for another baby):

Notice the long arms, light-weight yarn (DK in this case), small body size... The original pattern, which was only one of many monsters included on the mobile, was in fingering weight yarn, and made for quite a small monster. Well, the first monster got lost on a skiing trip, and so my sister-in-law sheepishly requested a replacement, since my niece had liked playing with it so much. And without further ado, here's Pants Monster Number Two!

He looks a little caught off-guard here, but what he's really doing is admiring my collection of physics, math, and astronomy books. He's quite an intelligent little fellow!

His personality, however, has more than one facet! He's also quite computer savvy:

He's strong, and likes doing weights:

But also sensitive, and sad about how cold it is outside...

Pants Monster #2 was knit in Bernat Softee Chunky Solid, hence the much larger size. The face was made from felt and sewed on with sewing thread. I'm really really really happy with how he turned out, and I'll admit that it was a bit of a challenge saying goodbye! Fortunately, my niece loved him, which makes his departure a little easier.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Autumn Leaves cardigan

Carl Sagan once said, "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the Universe." I felt a little like I'd just invented the Universe with my most recently finished sweater. Two years in the making, the roving from which the yarn was made was dyed a couple of summers ago, the yarn was spun on a drop spindle over the course of those two years, and then the whole sweater was knit in less than a week.

In the beginning, there was the dying:

As I wrote in a previous blog post (unfortunately, all of the image links are broken), this roving was dyed with acid dies in the summer of 2012 during a very fun afternoon with Joanna. This is what the roving looked like after it was dry and all nicely braided up:

I spun the whole lot (I'll admit that I never weighed the whole mess, so I'm not entirely sure how much there was) on my cut acrylic drop spindle from Seven Yaks Design. I chain plied it so that it would be a 3-ply yarn with a roughly DK to light worsted weight. Of course, it was closer to fingering in some spots and aran in others, but I think the average thickness was about DK. Here's some of it on a niddy-noddy:

From how many times each skein wrapped around the niddy-noddy, I estimated that I spun approximately 588 yards of the stuff. Here it is drying after I washed all the yarn:

And finally, here's the sweater!

I loosely followed the Ruby Tuesday pattern by Ewa Durasiewicz, a round-yoke top-down design, but because I didn't get the same gauge with my handspun as called for in the pattern, I didn't do the third set of increases. Somehow, I managed to do the right calculations and end up with a sweater that fits me perfectly. The buttons don't match, but I kind of like it that way. Best part: I used up all the yarn!

As a first experience knitting with hand-spun yarn, I've gotta say, it's pretty amazing. The knitting experience felt so natural and organic, it was like nothing else. I would recommend it to anyone. I can hardly wait to finish spinning up my next batch of yarn to knit with!