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modern baby bonnet.

Finally, a completed knitted project!  These days it seems like I start a project only to start a new one because my yarn gauge is completely off, or I realize I don’t like my yarn choice.  It really pays to get the correct yarn when knitting!  I tend to get yarn happy — which doesn’t always work.  Sad to say, but this is my first knit project of the year!  It hails from a book Gregory got me for Christmas a couple years back.  [He’s getting so much better at getting me things that I love!]  The book, Vintage Knits for Modern Babies by Hadley Fierlinger, is a lovely take on olden day patterns, but modified for modern babies.

I’ve never knit a hat before, so for this project I chose Hadley’s pattern for the Modern Baby Bonnet in size 0-3 months, also found via Ravelry, here.  It’s so cute! I knit the hat using straight needles and Artful Yarns Cliche in the color, natural linen.  I really like this yarn because it’s made up of a combination of cotton and linen.  It’s especially nice for a spring baby because of the cooling nature of cotton and linen.  Unfortunately, I think my hat falls under the 3-6 month category — it turned out a little bigger than 0-3 months.  But it’s ok, it will end up being a cute fall hat.

Overall it was a fun knit.  I’m happy to finally have made a hat — it’s not as complicated as I thought.  And how my fingers have missed the rhythm of knitting — it’s so therapeutic!  Now I’m off to figure out what to knit next!

Update!  Below is a photo of Rohan wearing the bonnet!  Added October 13, 2012.  It’s so wonderful to know that he’s one of the babies in my belly in the first picture of this post!

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itching.

To knit.  I’ve been sewing so much these days that I’ve been longing for those cool fall days of deciphering new patterns and knitting baby sweaters.  I’m hoping to expand my project list this fall and delve into projects with more than one color, and hopefully work in some socks and a few hats.  I’ve also been considering joining some sort of knitting guild — perhaps like the one below?  But thank goodness for my knitting buddy, Diana.  We share patterns, talk about our likes and dislikes, and share our hopes and dreams as knitters.  Yes, we probably sound like huge dorks, but really, it’s alot of fun.  : )

knitting guild

baby sophisticate.

This was a charming sweater to knit.  I love shawl collared sweaters like this.  I have a few like it from my college JCREW days.  I knit this sweater for a friend of mine who is going to have a baby.  I just love seeing babies in cozy sweaters — makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.  For this project I used the Baby Sophisticate pattern by Linden Heflin in size 0-3 months found via Ravelry.  (By the way, I like the name Linden — reminds me of the herb, linden flower).  I knit the sweater in the round using Lion Brand Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton in mustard.  I think I can confidently say that mustard is my most favorite color.  There needs to be more mustard colored yarn out there!  The yarn is nice, but it’s not my favorite.  It fuzzes up easily which I don’t like, but it’s very soft, which is nice for newborns especially.

This sweater was my first project involving knitting in the round using double pointed needles (DPNs) for the sleeves.  I thought it would be really hard to use DPNs, but it wasn’t!  I used this video by Very Pink Knits to help me along the way. Her tutorial is for a sock project, but she demonstrates how to use DPNs.  I’ll probably use her video for knitting socks as well since she’s so easy to follow.  The one thing I didn’t like about knitting this sweater was my tension — I felt that the actual shawl collar could have been wider and more prominent.  I used three leather-like buttons to add a bit more sophistication — love them so much!!!  I’m thinking about also adding some suede elbow patches?  Hmmm…maybe next time. I’ll probably knit another one when my next babers rolls around.

confection baby shrug.

Every baby needs a warm shrug, don’tcha think?  This sweater was quite the opposite knit compared to my last knit, the Sandbox Cardi.  For this project I used the Confection Baby Shrug pattern by Tonya Wagner in size 18 months found via Ravelry.  I knit the sweater in the round using Berroco Blackstone Tweed in the color, ancient mariner — which is a heather brown with lovely, lovely hints of purple and olive green.  The Sandbox Cardi demonstrates my love for bold + folksy; and the Confection Baby Shrug, my love for earthy and all-natural.  My heart tends to be swayed either this way or that.

This shrug was my first project involving knitting eyelets at the cuff — co cute.  I also love that this sweater is so thin and airy.  The yarn literally broke apart in my hands if I wasn’t gentle enough with it.  That’s the only drawback to this yarn — it’s delicacy. However, once you have a completed project, it really looks and feels beautiful.  It folds up so nicely too!  Oh, one thing I realized I don’t like doing is picking up stitches!  My stitches were so tight that I had to incorporate 3 double pointed needles to finish off the rib around the edge of the sweater.

The sweater is a little loose on Dhara (12 months) — she wore it to church on Sunday — I think this is due to the combination of thin yarn and size 9 needles.  It should fit her better in the spring.  One thing is for sure, babies won’t be able to take this sweater off due to the way it sits right on the shoulders.  It’s a great shrug to match up with a peasant top + jeans or a simple spring dress.  Maybe I should knit one up for myself?

sandbox cardi.

I literally finished this sweater in 3 days.  I could have finished it in 1 day if I had the time.  I really can’t credit this speediness to becoming a quick knitter or anything because this pattern calls for thick yarn and thicker needles — thick yarn + thicker needles equal quicker projects.  I really enjoy this combination, always have since Gifty taught me to knit 10+ years ago.  It just feels so right in my hands.

For this sweater I used Lion Brand Yarn’s Sandbox Cardi + Hat pattern in size 9 months found via Ravelry.  I knit the sweater using Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick + Quick Yarn in butterscotch.  I just love the color!  I’ve always leaned towards the more bold and folksy colors.  Something else I love about this pattern are the two pocket slits on the front — the pockets end up being knitted on the inside.  They came out so cute and so ready for my baby girl’s little hands!

I added a funky element by sewing on faded green wooden buttons.  I really think if Anthropolgie made kid’s clothes, they would sell stuff like this.  : )  After knitting the sweater I realized I should have probably knit it in size 12 months. Unfortunately I listened to the reviews saying that this sweater comes out big.  It practically just fits Dhara (11 months) — but maybe not even that. : )  It actually looks like a thick knitted coat/jacket of some sort.  Really warm, and really cozy.

kimono sweater.

I must be on a roll or something.  It took me almost five months to finish the mossy sweater, but less than a month to finish this kimono sweater.  Knitting is really all I think about these days (not really, but alot of the time, yes).  I think I’m falling in love with reading patterns.  I never thought I’d say that.  : )

For this sweater I used Lion Brand Yarn’s Little Luxury Kimono pattern in size 18 months found via Ravelry.  I knit the sweater using Cascade Yarns 220 in black.  While knitting this sweater, I realized that I don’t enjoy knitting in pieces and then piecing everything together at the end.  Rather, I love knitting in the round so that the sweater is knit all in one piece — this method looks so much more seamless and professional.  I do love kimono sweaters though.  I love how this pattern has a tie that goes around the back and ties on the side — adds a more mature element to this baby sweater.  “Baby Sophisticate”, is what I’d like to call this one.

mossy sweater.

This week I finally completed knitting a sweater I started back in the summertime during a trip to Texas.  In my opinion, it’s a huge accomplishment for me because I normally run to friends like Gifty or Lakshmi when it comes to reading a pattern, but I took the leap and battled it all on my own — buttonholes and everything.  I’m glad I did too because I realized it wasn’t so bad and that I was totally capable of working through a pattern — slowly, line by line.

I used Jolene Lye’s Mossy Sweater for Kids pattern in size 18 months found via Ravelry, my favorite pattern go-to website thanks to Mazhalai.  The sweater pattern was for a long sleeved pullover, but I decided it would be cuter if I kept it short sleeved so Dhara could wear a long sleeved onsie underneath.  I knit the sweater using Lion Brand’s Fisherman’s Wool in oatmeal — Fisherman’s Wool comes in the most loveliest of natural, earthy colors.  Love this stuff.  I also added a couple of woodsy tree-etched buttons to finish it off.

baby eyeing mama’s pattern drafting supplies

By the way, this size 18 month sweater fit my 10 month old baby just perfectly. : )

texas hill country.

beautiful texas hill country

It was such a blessing to have Greg’s parents take us down to Wimberly, Texas for a week of family and relaxation.  Wimberly is in Texas Hill Country — hill country is a region in central Texas that features tall rugged hills that consist of limestone or granite and is marked by wooded canyons cut by spring-fed rivers.  Wimberly is a beautiful little town full of trees, gravel roads, great local artists + shops and lovely views.

We stayed in the River House, one of Uncle Phil’s beautiful vacation rentals.  The River House had a little house next to it called a casita, which Greg, myself and the baby stayed in for a week, fully equipped with a washer and dryer in our bedroom — soooo helpful!  The week was spent hanging out there, as well as at Uncle Phil’s other two houses, the Sunset House and the Rim Rock House.  We spent most of those days on porches, rocking in rocking chairs and talking of days of old.  We also went tubing down the river, celebrated Uncle’s Phil’s 50th birthday, visited San Antonio, and squeezed in a lovely date or two with just the two of us.  (Mom, thanks sooo very much for watching the baby!  I know it was a great time for you both as well!).

Aunt Teri was so awesome to bring kolaches (a Czech delight) with her when she arrived in Wimberly.  My favorites were the blueberry + cheese kolaches, as well as the spicy sausage, jalapeno + cheese kolaches.  So yum.  When Greg and I lived in Baltimore we would make these all the time.  One of our favorites to make were kolaches filled with poppy seed jam, along with a steaming pot of tea — really made our Settlers of Catan evenings!

Here are some highlights from our trip.

meeting great granny lanny for the very first time

It was also Dhara’s first time meeting Granny Lanny.  The first meeting was sweet.  They just looked into each other’s eyes — Granny Lanny’s smiley ones and Dhara’s big bright ones.  Dhara is such a people person that she didn’t mind that she didn’t know this woman — this woman being her Czechoslovakian (or Bohemian, as Granny Lanny calls herself) great grandmother.

I actually spent alot of my time this trip hearing more stories of her childhood and married years.  She spoke quite fondly of her parents Sigmund and Eunice who came from Central Europe by ship and landed in Galveston, Texas.  She loved her dad — a very kind + good man.  She was one of five girls, and when the weather was chilly, her father would scoop each one of his daughters up in a homemade quilt, and place her on a stool in front of a wood stove to stay warm in the evenings.  As a child, she spoke Bohemian until she went to school and learned English.  Cultural dancing was a big part of her community growing up — babies were put on a quilt and placed under a table to nap while everyone danced.  She shared so many more neat stories.

dhara with great granny lanny, grandma smith + great aunt teri

eating aunt teri’s bracelet

sunset house pool overlooking the hills

hallway with a view, made with reclaimed wood

the uncle phil/dhara stare-down. uncle phil won.

aunt peggy and dhara

me knitting a cozy sweater for dhara

dhara with her uncle austin (greg’s cousin) and his sweet girlfriend, bonnie

granny lanny absolutely loved her new great granddaughter

uncle phil + his cardboard cutout at his 50th birthday bash, rim rock house

loved how aunt peggy decorated!

my little sweet sweet clapping her hands

dhara dancing and clapping her hands to the band playing “brown eyed girl”

granny lanny quietly enjoying the dancing from above

the end of a great 50th birthday bash

little toes in blanco river

she loved it

“remember the alamo!” san antonio, texas

on the riverwalk, san antonio, texas

with grandpa smith

with grandma smith


a family photo at the river house

lastly, this swing was a gift from greg’s parents to uncle phil for his 50th birthday — it swings from a great big tree at the river house and it’s officially been named, “the dhara swing”

strawberry.

Many have asked, “Is that a bindi (“Indian dot”) on Dhara’s forehead?”  I’d like to answer that question, for those of you who are wondering, with a confident, “no.”  We did not put a bindi on her forehead; rather, God put a birthmark in that exact spot.  Funny.  We’re not exactly sure why, but we’re pretty sure He has a good and valid reason.  On the bright side, it allows my halfsy of a baby to sport the whole ethnic bohemian look.  : ) 

That is, unless it gets bigger — which these birthmarks are prone to do.  We pray that it doesn’t.  This specific birthmark Dhara has is called a “strawberry hemangioma.”  It’s called that because it looks like a strawberry.  Hers is actually the shape of a strawberry.  As a mom, I was initially worried that this birthmark is located on her face — and an obvious one at that.  However, 1) she looks like an Indian baby wearing a bindi, and 2) strawberry hemangiomas usually disappear by age 3.

What is a strawberry hemangioma?  “Hemangiomas are harmless growths that are the result of rapidly dividing cells of the blood vessel walls.  They appear shortly after birth and grow rapidly during the first year of life.  They usually resolve on their own over the next few years.  Hemangiomas can be many different colors, depending on where they are located.  Superficial hemangiomas (also known as strawberry hemangiomas, due to their red color) are located in the top layer of skin.  Hemangiomas affect about 10% of infants, and the risk is about 5 times higher in females than males.  White infants and light skinned infants are at an increased risk for hemangiomas.”

So in the meantime, until her strawberry goes away, I have a beautiful, strawberry bindi wearing baby.  What a little sweetheart.

[peacock blue shawl collared cardigan sweater, from Susie Mey + yarn, from Manos del Urugu’ay.]

baby smith handmade #2.

Project #2:  Shawl Collar Sweater.

I have always been one for a nice, thick, comfy sweater.  The kind that reminds you of fall leaves and winter snow.  The kind you wrap yourself in for a woodsy bonfire.  Shawl collar sweaters are especially nice for this.  I have a few myself, and thought that my little girl would like to feel as cozy as I feel when I’m in them.  This baby sweater in peacock blue is a comfy addition to any baby girl’s wardrobe. I used Debbie Bliss’ Ribbed Baby Jacket pattern in size 0-3 months found via Ravelry.  As for yarn, I used a beautiful skein of Manos del Urugu’ay yarn to knit this sweater.  The yarn has got a folksy handspun pure wool kettle dyed finish.

The finished sweater has got cuffed sleeves and a big brown button for kicks.  Baby clothes don’t have to be so baby anymore.  When choosing the yarn for this sweater, I remember walking into the yarn shop with a specific type of yarn in mind.  I told the lady behind the counter that I wanted to make a baby sweater, and she directed me to all the “baby yarns” in baby yellows, pinks and light purples.  I shook my head.  “Nope, this is not what I had in mind.”  I walked over to the bins of Manos yarn and instantly fell in love.  She disagreed with my selection for a baby sweater, but I bought 2 skeins anyway.  I love how warm this sweater makes me feel inside.  Makes me think of a log cabin and warm banana bread.  Thanks to Lakshmi for her help with the pattern!

[peacock blue skein of yarn, from Manos del Urugu’ay.]

***

Other Baby Smith Handmade Projects:

Project #1:  Scalloped Blanket.

What is Baby Smith Handmade?