Kinder Cardigan

There was a big transition for our family this week as our oldest daughter started kindergarten! Lu was just thrilled to go to elementary school and start learning big girl things. I really wanted to make her a first day of school outfit, but she is required to wear a uniform. Sure, I could have made her a blouse and skirt, but I have to admit uniform sewing is super boring. While I try to make a good chunk of the kids clothing, for uniforms I was happy to put in an order from Gap and use my limited summer sewing time for other projects.

This seems ridiculous since we live in Southern California, but I opted to knit Lu a first day of school sweater!

Gosh, she is so cute. Sure it was a high of 85F on Monday, but it was grey and cool-ish in the morning. She happily donned her new cardigan which looks quite nice with her new school shoes.

I’ve been trying to knit up some of the patterns in my library and yarn in my stash, so I shopped both to achieve a nice traditional sweater. This is the Wee Wildflower pattern from Alana Dakos. There is actually an adult version too, but I don’t think I’d ever knit it for myself. A little too twee. The yarn is Madelinetosh’s Twist Light in the color Care. Twist light is 75% wool and 25% nylon which is a good combination for a kids garment. Technically it is machine washable, but I’ll try to remember to wash it by hand. Care is a wonderful color that includes nearly every shade in the rainbow. It was a limited release color sold to benefit Doctors Without Borders. I took the time to alternate two skeins so there is very little pooling of the colors. Yay!

Choosing a size to knit was a bit tough. Lu has a 19 inch chest, but is average height for a 5 year old, so I ended up knitting the size 2 sweater with a size 6 for the length. It worked out pretty well everywhere except the sleeve caps. The sleeve caps as written have almost no height, just a lot of width. I added some extra height and it was still tough to fit the sleeves into the armcye. Lu also have very thin arms and the sleeves are tight. I cannot imagine shoving a 2 year old’s arms into such a small circumference. Could be my gauge was off, but still I found the sizing odd. The pattern also has no shaping for the shoulders in the back, so I added that too.

This finished sweater is pretty great and fits Lu well right now, but I don’t think this one is going to last long. I have a feeling Lu is going to shoot straight up this year with all the running and learning she’ll do. Just one day into the school year she’d figured out how to swing by herself and by Friday Lu was all atwitter over recycling, the solar eclipse, and science! “Mommy, I want to be a teacher when I grow up.”

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Taming the Sailors Shawl

Well hello there! I’m back and feeling rested and ready to tackle some new projects again! My husband has been in Argentina for the last month and when combined with solo parenting and Stepbet I have been one exhausted lady! But now my husband is home again. I got two consecutive full nights of sleep and I’m a whole new woman.

So today I’m here to share a shawl I knit earlier this summer. I’m not much of a shawl wearer, but about once a year I get a hankering to knit lace just because I want to. Shawls are the best projects for random lace knitting!

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This is the gorgeous Sandpiper Shawl from Laura Aylor. I’ve had my eye on this design for the last year, but I just couldn’t decide on what yarn to use. Then as the warm weather set in I found myself in need of a small project I could knit on my lunch breaks.

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Plus I had a gorgeous single skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Jacaranda Bloom. This is a color Madelinetosh created at my recommendation and this skein was sent to me as a gift from a fellow knitter. How did I leave it sitting unloved for almost 3 years?!?!

The main body of the shawl is Astral Bath Spectra in the delightfully titled color Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash while the eyelet row is Spectra in Naked. Hmmm, this is starting to sound like an R rated shawl. Ha!

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And because my husband wasn’t home you all get to experience more photos from a 4 year old photographer. Lu took great joy in making me do all kinds of poses to show off the size of the shawl.

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As you can see it is quite generously sized. I used about 700 yards of yarn all together and this nicely covers my shoulders. It only took about 6 weeks worth of lunch time knitting to complete! Highly recommended pattern!!!


And now I’ll also talk a little bit about fitness and Stepbet. I have no intention of making this a fitness blog, but I thought it may prove useful for others to hear a review.

One of the groups where I hang out on Ravelry has been on a huge fitness kick in recent years, but generally I don’t participate in their contests because it is so hard to balance my personal life and finding the time to work out can be tough. However someone brought up the idea of all joining a Stepbet contest and I jumped at the chance to take part in something where I felt I could succeed.

The idea behind the app is everyone puts the same amount of money into the pot and all the people who make their own personal goal for all 5 weeks gets to split the pot.

Pros

  • Everyone gets their own personal goal. The goals are set by the game, but most people had achievable numbers. Mine were roughly 9,300 for active days and 12,000 for stretch days.
  • It got me moving! I did not realize quite how sedentary I’d become until I had to walk several miles each day, 6 days a week.
  • I won cash! I don’t know the final amount yet, but it is probably about $10.
  • It was fun to do with a group of other people and we all cheered each other on.

Cons

  • The biggest negative is that you are basically rooting for people to fail if you want to win any more money than what you put in. You need more than 25% of people to lose. Kind of sad.
  • 5 weeks of having no free time got me a whole $10.
  • There is no room for bad days. Like when my younger daughter decided to wake up for the day at 3am and I was a total wreck I still had to walk my ass off. 100F heat and extremely poor air quality from a wildfire? Still had to figure out a way to walk miles and miles.
  • When it started I didn’t own a Fitbit or other step tracking device so I had to carry my phone. At first it wasn’t so bad, but I quickly got really tired of carrying my phone every single place I went. It got even more annoying when I got a Fitbit and saw I was walking on average 1,000 steps more than my phone registered.

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But I won and it feels great! I plan to keep up walking, but maybe not quite to the same level. I’m still sorting out what I want my plan to be, but I’m thinking a goal of 10,000 steps 4-5 days a week. I’d also like to add more stretching to my day as my muscles feel really tight.

I think my Ravelry group is going to work on a new contest. Something where its a good thing if everyone wins, because who wants their friend to fail? Not me!

 

Kid Clothes – Fall Round Up

I’ve been making lots of little things for my girls this fall. They are so quick to make and so satisfying. Kids just don’t have the same level of fit concern that an adult has!

So Charlie first!

She has lots of hand me downs from her big sister and she’s teeny so some of the things I made last fall still fit. So I only made a few things for her this fall. Such as this cute little cardigan she modeled on her first birthday.

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This was part of a KAL on Raverly called the Child for All Seasons. The designers put out three patterns each quarter. One that is styled for girls, one styled for boys, and one accessory. This was the Fall girl sweater knit in two skeins of very poorly matched Madelinetosh merino dk in Truly, Madly, Deeply that had been sitting in my stash waiting for the right project. This is a great littler sweater that gets worn multiple times a week!

Next is my favorite thing I’ve knit all year, a baby dress I’ve named Rainbow Brite.

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Gah! This one just kills me with the cute. I love it so very much. The pattern is the Baby Bubble Tunic and this 6-12 month size should last Charlie all winter. The yarn is something really special. Neighborhood Fiber Co. made kits called Shades of the Rainbow to celebrate the Supreme Court’s ruling that same sex marriages are legal! Woot! So I snatched a kit in studio dk . Along with some leftovers I purchased from a knitting friend I have enough to make Lu something too. So more rainbows to come!

And now Halloween costumes! One of the things I just feel a deep desire to do is make homemade costumes. This year we had a baby Madeline and Frozen’s Elsa.

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Charlie’s costume is a big 4 pattern. I can’t quite remember which one. I made it with some Robert Kaufman corduroy and essex with a little red ribbon tie. Super simple and this is most likely her Christmas dress too. Lu’s costume was way more involved. I started with the Geranium Dress and re-drafted the bodice so I could sew in the cape. The whole thing is built on kona cotton to give those cheap sparkle fabrics something to hold onto. I wasn’t sure it would work, but it totally did! This costume has been worn to school, and for a birthday party, and trick or treating, and around our house and it still looks perfect. Yes! Most importantly the picky preschooler loves it.

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And now for Lu this fall I’ve been working on making her plenty of school clothes. She wears uniforms so I bought a mess of navy and red fabric have been making things as a palate cleanser between other projects.

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First up is this Music Box Jumper from Oliver + S. This is how I learned I don’t need to go so overboard on upsizing. Lu is pretty petite just like her sister so cutting a 3 with 4 length turned out kind of crazy big. But she still wears and lives this jumper.

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Next is another Oliver + S pattern, this time the Music Class skirt. It’s cute and very functional, but I will admit it is not Lu’s first choice to wear.

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Last of the uniforms is this Flashback Skinny Tee turned dress! I actually made two of these at once because I figured something this soft and easy would be a hit. It is. I will definitely be making more of these those I want to pick up some fun fold over elastic to trim the necklines.

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What uniform would be complete without a sweater for those chilly fall mornings? So now Lu has a Peachick Eyes Cardigan knit with Madelinetosh Dandelion in the Vintage Bandana color way. Another item she wears all the time. Sadly with the time change our mornings are much much cooler so another warmer sweater is already in progress.

Whew! So made kid things completed this fall with more to come, but also so much love put into clothing my girls.

Why I Knit for My Kids

Knitting takes a lot of time. After work and taking care of my family there are not many hours left in my day, but I spend much of my free time making sweaters for me and my daughters.

I hear the argument for buying kids clothes. They grow so fast. The are too messy. Kids ruin wool. Acrylic is better.

But I don’t care. Seeing my girls wearing their knits is worth the time, the money, and the love I put into them.

Lu from December 2013

And Lu today August 2015

She said she was cold and put this on despite the fact that it is summer! Looks like she’ll get a third winter out of this one and I’m glad for it. One of my favorite things I’ve knit for her.

This is the Sunday Sweater by Ginny Sheller. A sweater I loved knitting and plan to make again. Yarn is Madelinetosh DK Twist in Heuchera. DK Twist is my favorite yarn base for kids clothes. Soft, bouncy, and washes really well for 100% wool.