Category Archives: Gifts

Summer Dress

When the sun is blazing hot and temperatures are soaring, the last thing you want to do is knit with wool. The obvious choice would be cotton. And when your dear friend announces there is a new addition to her family, you grab that opportunity and cast on for a summer dress.

The pattern is Muti Dress by Tagia Hilliard and is super fun to knit. The yoke keeps you interested and get done quickly. Then comes the full skirt, which can get monotonous and slow you down.

I used fingering weight cotton yarn and used up all of 100 gms of it. I ran out of yarn and had to skip one repeat of lace on the skirt border. I wish I had more yarn, as this dress turned out just a bit shorter.

I had these cute pencil buttons in my stash since ages and never got the opportunity to use them. I find the perfect project in this. Flowery buttons would have suited the girly dress better, but I went with pencils any way.

Interview and Giveaway!

Update: This giveaway is now closed. “resident robin” is our winner. Congratulations! Barbara will be contacting the winner soon.

As part of Gift-Along 2014, I am very excited to interview my first featured designer Barbara aka browneyedbabs on Ravelry.

  • What inspired you to become a designer?
    I had learned to knit as a child but didn’t start knitting properly till I was in my mid twenties and people I loved started having babies. I had hardly any spare money so I would make up my own patterns for things to try and recreate products I loved but couldn’t afford – not always successfully! Eventually, I got good enough that I decided to start writing down my patterns and it all went from there.

 

  • What aspect/phase of knit design do you enjoy the most? And which one do you enjoy the least?
    My favourite thing is seeing other people enjoying my patterns, I still get a little thrill when I see someone add photos of their finished toys to Ravelry. The worst bit for me is laying out the pattern and taking the photos. It takes a surprisingly long time to make a pattern fit neatly onto the pages and look pretty.

 

  • Do you find time to knit from other designers’ patterns? Who are your favorite designers?
    I don’t get a lot of time to knit other people’s patterns, that’s one of the best things about the giftalong. Like last year, I’m taking a couple of months off from designing to enjoy knitting without having to think. I’ve just cast on the Keikomi cowl with some special yarn and I’m really enjoying it. I also really love patterns by Hilary Smith Callis I made myself one of her Starshower cowls recently as a reward for getting some patterns designed by the magazine deadlines.

 

  • Which patterns in your store can be made as quick holiday gifts?
    My quickest toy is Katie Kitty Puppet, it’s a simple knit and if you’re really in a hurry you can skip the finishing and gift it with glue on googly eyes and felt shapes for a child to decorate it with. Dreamy Owl is another quick pattern and is great for babies.

  • What gifts are you making/knitting for this holiday season?
    This year I’m making cowls, slippers and hats. Some for me and some for friends and family. I’ve got to keep them secret though so that there is a surprise on Christmas morning!

Thank you so much Barbara for taking time to answer these questions. I hope you had as much fun with this interview as I did.

To celebrate the Gift-A-Long, Barbara would like to offer you the opportunity to win one of her patterns. To enter, have a look through Barbara’s patterns and leave a comment about your favorite design of hers. Giveaway ends midnight IST Saturday, November 22. A random winner will be chosen from the comments.

It is so hard to choose one from her lovely collection. Look how cute Duncan the Donkey is.

Photo credit: All photos are copyright brownyeyedbabs and used with permission.

Just Chill

I have been a lurker on the Contiguous Sleeves group on Ravelry since a long time. I was introduced to this technique by Elena Nodel when I test knitted her Tomboy Vest. Since then, I wanted to knit more sweaters made with this technique, but as it always happens, never had the time. When Just Chill was put out for testing, which uses a combo of saddle shoulders with contiguous sleeves, I utilized this great opportunity to learn this technique better. Of course the handsome sweater was a factor too.

Just Chill is seamless and knit top down. The two toned look, combined with the saddle shoulders make this sweater very handsome and masculine. The pattern is beginner friendly, with clear instructions. The only tricky part for a beginner could be the attached I-cord for the buttonbands. Well, what is the fun in knitting a sweater which doesn’t offer any challenge.

I chose Knit Picks Shine Worsted in Platinum and Willow. I even had perfect buttons to go with it. Love the wooden look of the buttons. I am racking my brain to recall where I bought this, but it is drawing a blank.

This sweater is headed to Ahmedabad to meet its recipient, Vihaan, a handsome little nephew of mine. He is the latest addition to my huge, extended family and this is my welcome gift to him. My cousin lost her first baby just before she was due for delivery, so this baby is so much more special for her and for us all. Here is wishing Vihaan a long and fruitful life in this world.

Double Espresso

Double knitting has been on my to-do list since ages. The fact that it produces reversible fabric with reversed colors on either side intrigued me. I knew how it works theoretically, but wanted to try my hands at it. I finished working on Annis and wanted something quick and easy as a filler, so I decided to knit this pretty hotpad.

I had some NaturallyCaron’s Country yarn in two shades of brown, which was perfect for this coffee hotpad.  I looked at videos explaining how to cast on with two colors alternately. After going cross-eyed watching those videos, I decided to cast on with two strands held together. Clever, eh? On the next row, I treated each strand as a separate stitch, so I had the required stitch count for both colors.

It took me some time to get used to holding a strand in both the hands, but once I got the hang of it, it was a smooth sail. Working the chart was very addictive. After completing one row, I would be so eager to work on the next row and the just-one-more-row syndrome made this hotpad a very quick knit. Before I knew it, I was casting it off. To match the cast on edge, I cast off treating two strands as one stitch and knitting with both strands together. The small loop is an i-cord knit using two strands held together and attached to the hotpad later on.

The yarn is splitty and was a pain to work with. It was a wrong choice for the hotpad, I wish I had used some sturdy cotton instead. Well, lesson learnt.

My Ravelry Project Page
Pattern:  Coffee and TeaPot Holders
Yarn: NaturallyCaron.com Country
Needle: US 7 4.5mm

A prayer for a baby

The last couple of weeks have been crazy, to say the least. A dear one is fighting a medical problem and there is nothing the rest of us can do, but stand and watch. It sucks to be helpless, right? While this loved one is fighting for life, a cousin of mine is due to give birth to a whole new life. It is great news that she is still carrying the baby inside her at 38 weeks, considering she had a premature birth scare two months back. She has been going through a lot of bad times on the personal front and it was saddening to see her face yet another emotional issue. Thank the almighty, it turned out to be just a scare and things are fine now, but when I heard the news, my decision on the spur was to cast on for a baby blanket with a prayer weaved in every stitch for the baby.

I wanted something mindless, so the focus is on the prayer rather than to keep track of what row I am on. Garter Rib Baby Blanket fit the bill perfectly. I wanted a bigger blanket than I usually make (so the baby can use it in its toddler years too) and hence cast on a larger number. A larger garter border was added to go with the larger blanket. Once the first few rows are done, then it is just one long, mindless knitting. The K3P3 ribbing could have gone faster if I knit continental style, but I was happy with the progress.

I used a new yarn this time. I was told by the Our Own Store guy it is Vardhaman, but our well trusted Rav knitters choose to differ. It is is acrylic, fingering weight for sure, so let’s live with that. I used this yarn held double and with 4.5mm needles, it gives a nice, airy, drapey blanket which is light enough to wrap swathe the baby, but thick enough to keep it warm.

I tried steam blocking acrylic for the first time and I am amazed by the result. I used my Philips Steam Iron which has the ability to give out constant steam. Though it was a slow and tedious process to steam block a big, bad blanket with a measly steam iron, it was all worth it. The uneven stitches evened out, the blanket became drapier and softer. I am wondering why I never treated my previous FOs with a dose of steam.


Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Garter Rib Baby Blanket
Yarn: Acrylic, fingering weight, held double
Needles: US 7 4.5 mm

 

Chocolate ice-cream

… with mango sauce and cream. That’s what this blanket reminds me of.

When my friend Anuradha broke the good news that she is expecting, I decided I will knit something for her baby. I was thinking of making a sweater and a hat – something small so that I can knit it in my busy schedule. To my surprise, Anu decided to take up knitting too. She started with a hat and made a cardigan and a vest. Now that she was making these stuff already and was a knitter herself, I couldn’t possibly give her a teeny-weeny sweater, could I? I had to make something good enough for a knitter. That’s how this blanket got created.

Crochet has been on my need-to-learn-this-skill-because-the-FOs-are-so-awesome list, but never got around to doing that. When I was finalizing a blanket pattern for Anu’s blanket, I decided it had to be crochet. One, if I don’t learn crocheting now, I probably never will and two, I have heard crocheting is way faster than knitting. I used the Neat Ripple Pattern by Lucy (or Attic24 as she is known in the crochet world) and loved it. She has detailed photos for crochet newbies like me. The photos were a big help!

After an initial swatch, I had enough confidence that I can finish this blanket. Next step was the choice of colors. I had bought this yarn from Pydal’s for what would have been a vest for my hubby. I soon realized that this yarn is too flimsy and has no stitch definition, so the most natural choice was a baby blanket. I had lots of brown and just one skein of yellow and off-white. After a bit of calculation, I decided to do a row each of yellow and off-white for every five rows of brown. I knit until I ran out of the off-white yarn.

There are so many mistakes in there that I can’t count. For starters, the edges are wavy and uneven. Expert crocheters tell me that the edges are meant to be wavy, so one less mistake to worry about. The starting rows are too tight, so the blanket is narrower at one end and wider at the other. Since it’s a blanket, I hope it’s ok and I hope the baby doesn’t  mind.

I worked on this blanket for an hour everyday for 3-4 weeks. It would have taken even lesser if I wasn’t so new to crochet. So, it is true, crocheting is definitely faster. My next blanket is going to be a crochet blanket.  I have even bought yarn for it. Going off to look for patterns. Crochet ville, here I come!

Link to Ravelry Project.

Itsy Bitsy – Knitting baby stuff

It’s been ages since I have talked about any FO. That does not mean that I haven’t done any knitting, but just didn’t have the time to write about it. Well, what have I done during the hiatus? Lots of things actually.

It’s difficult to choose a pattern when it comes to baby sweaters. All the patterns look so cute. One pattern that stands out is Baby Sophisticate. It is cute, no doubt, but it also has a distinguished look to it which gives babies that grown-up look. I personally think kids look cute when they act all grown-up. I almost made this for Anya, Rima’s little princess, but when Rima knit the same one for her, I decided to knit something else. I am keeping this one for a baby to come along and claim it. The yarn is 3-ply yarn from Pydal. Really soft and has a nice sheen to it. The only problem is the yarn is so thin that I used 3 strands held together for this cardigan.

I decided to make this Pebble vest for Anya. Just when I was about to sew the buttons on and mail it to Rima, she too made the same vest for Anya. I didn’t want to send this vest, but since the day of Anya’s arrival was nearing, I decided to send it anyway, consoling myself that the one Rima made is bigger and mine is smaller, so can be used immediately. The DK yarn is from Pydal and is soft and squishy.

The vest looked so adorable, I made another one for Ninad. I modified the pattern to make it a bit bigger and knit the body in round. This vest looked great too, but I realized that this yarn was not the best choice only after I started using it. The yarn is so squishy that it doesn’t hold any shape at all. Anya’s vest can be easily used by a 2 year old, that’s how stretchy the yarn is. Now I am feeling guilty for using this yarn for Anya’s vest. I should have used a tried and tested yarn. Sorry Anya and Rima if the vest turns out to be unusable.

The moment I saw this pattern on Knitty, I knew I would knit it some day. Kids and ice-cream go well together, don’t they? I was waiting for an opportunity to knit it and I got it when my mom asked me to knit a sweater for my brother’s kid. I finished the front part in just 3 hours. Intarsia was addictive. It’s another matter that I took 2 days to finish the back and 2 weeks to finish the sleeves. One cute sweater and a great pattern. The only drawback is it is not knit in round, but intarsia can’t be knit in round, so that’s how it is. The 8-ply yarn is leftover yarn from Ninad’s blanket. I love this yarn. It’s strong and has good stitch definition. It’s thick, so knits up fast.

So, this is what I had been upto. I also made a adult size sweater for my husband, but that’s for another blog post, when I get to write it.

Pretty sweater for a pretty baby

My friend was impressed with the Feather and Fan blanket I gave her and asked for a newborn sweater. We knitters are just waiting to knit something, so I readily agreed. I love the delicate, lacy sweaters which look so cute on girl babies and I always wanted to knit one of those. Unfortunately, I didn’t know any girl babies to knit for. Sanskriti came along and has opened a lot of doors for me. Time was a restriction, so I made this simple, yet pretty sweater for the pretty Sanskriti. There is something wrong with this photograph, the edges are jagged. Because of the black background? The sweater in reality is much better. Really.

I am impressed by the construction of this sweater. You start knitting from the neck edge, knit the yoke, divide for body and sleeves, knit the first sleeve (flat, not round), then close the sleeve seam back up so that you are back at the underarm join, knit the body across, knit the sleeve, back at the underarm join and then finish off the sweater. Umm, did it make sense? Never mind. It means you don’t have to break yarn and rejoin yarn for sleeves and body. You have only one loose end to weave in apart from the cast on end. You need a bit of crochet skills for closing the sleeve seam. Hey, does this count as my first crochet project? I guess not.

On other knitting stuff, remember that kimono and Twinkle sweater I made? The kimono doesn’t fit yet and the Twinkle is not all that practical. I had to sew on press buttons for the sweater to make it useful. It doesn’t really help in keeping my baby warm, but it does look cute. Sweaters that Rima and Sanhita gave are big and won’t fit yet (intentionally so) so what this means is my little fellow needs a sweater. I search for patterns on Ravelry and the only ones I like are all girlish. I want to knit something that looks like a sweater meant for a boy. Any suggestions?

Baby and the blanket

I started working on this blanket when my friend told me she was expecting. I was into a few rows when my baby made an appearance and the blanket had to be kept aside. I picked it up again a few weeks back when I realized my friend is due in the third week of June. I would have finished it on time, if not for the early appearance of the baby. My friend’s immediate family had not yet arrived in Bangalore and the baby decided to give a surprise to everybody. This cutie pie is the reason I could not meet Rima this time. Since my friend didn’t really have any help, I had to be with her in the hospital all day long. Sorry once again Rima, I hope you understand! This is Sanskriti when she was 8 hours old. Don’t miss those pink cheeks!

Now about the blanket. This is the classic feather and fan pattern adapted for a baby blanket. I changed the original pattern to make the purl ridges appear every 8th row instead of every 4th row. This makes the feathers sparser and I like this effect.

Original pattern:

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: *K 2 tog 3 times, YO, K1 6 times*
Row 4: Knit

Modified Pattern:

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: *K 2 tog 3 times, YO, K1 6 times*
Row 4: Purl
Row 5: Knit
Row 6: Purl
Row 7: *K 2 tog 3 times, YO, K1 6 times*
Row 8: Knit

I used Vardhaman 4-ply acrylic yarn and held it double to speeden up the knitting. Six feather and fan for a row and fifteen repeats of the 8-row pattern. I was not sure of the gender of the baby, so I used red. Now that I know it is a girl, I am making a sweater for her in pink. Hope it fits.

Rav link for the project.

Gifts Galore

This post is too delayed. I was (and still am) busy with my little kiddo and I just don’t know how time flies. I wake up in the morning to the cries of my kid and before I know it, it is time to bed. Sigh, where are those days when I could knit and knit without any worries?

Coming back to the point, my friends and family have given hand-made gifts to my son over the past few months. I should have blogged about them earlier, but didn’t find the time. My sincere apologies. Better late than never, huh?

This sweater is a gift from my Aunt. I didn’t know she was a knitter until I saw this. And when I did, my mouth was wide open for a few minutes. I was wondering about how difficult it must have been to knit this, but she says ‘Oh, it’s nothing’. This sweater gave me the inspiration and courage to try my first fair isle project, but that’s a different story. The sweater fits well and my son looks like a serious, no nonsense  grandpa when he wears this. The colors are kind of grandpa-ish, don’t you think? I love this sweater nevertheless. The colors add a bit of variety and give me the much needed break from baby colors. My aunt has given me some quilts and embroidered stuff which I will blog about later.

This sweater is from Rima. The sweater is so soft and cuddly. She intentionally made it bigger so that it will be useful for next winter. The yarn is so fine and squishy. What more, this is Rima’s own creation. That is so awesome, isn’t it? I wish I could crochet. I would make this right at this moment.

These two are from Sanhita. The sweater is bigger and will fit next winter. I love the sweater’s colors. This blanket is so gorgeous! When she made this blanket, I left a comment on her project page expressing my appreciation. Little did I know that it will come my way. Everything about this blanket is lovely. The yarn, the colors and the pattern and more importantly Sanhita’s gesture. I can’t tell you how proud I am to have this for my baby. I used it every single day during winter and can’t wait for next winter to come. I get raised eyebrows whenever I use this blanket. And the obvious question that follows, ‘Did you make this?’ I wish I had, but I can’t even imagine myself making anything like this.

Thank you so much Rima and Sanhita. These gifts mean a lot to me. A lot of effort and time have gone into knitting these and it is greatly appreciated. These gifts are well received and will be well used.

PS: My aunt is not computer literate, so I will thank her in person.