Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Christmas with a baby

Llama is waaaayy to young to have any idea about Christmas. And I'm liking it.

We've decided not to go overboard (and not just because we're down to one income at the moment). This year, he will receive a hardcover book that he can look at later, and read the (yet to be determined) message we have for him.

However, having a child means that Joe & I need to think a bit harder about what we do as a family at Christmas.

I've been doing some thinking about Santa over the last few weeks (check out my SIL's thoughts here). When I had figured out the truth about Santa, and let it slip to my parents (we all lived in denial for a few years), they said that my brother and I could have one lot of presents a year, either presents from them, or presents from Santa. We weren't silly, Santa gave us heaps more presents, so we opted for him as the gift giver.

When I became Christian I was struck by how different Jesus is from Santa.

The premise behind Santa is, if you behave yourself (all year), you will get presents ... a reward for being good. Regardless of how naughty I may have been during the year, I still managed to get presents. Santa was a bit of a soft touch.

The Bible tells us the truth. We aren't 'good' all year. We can't even go a day without indicating to God that we don't need him (either actively or passively). And God is no soft touch. When we reject him, it matters.

But God is so much more merciful than Santa.

Even though we do reject Him, he sent His Son (Jesus), as our extra special Christmas present. Jesus was good ALL YEAR, EVERY YEAR, and if we ask God for forgiveness, we can claim Jesus' goodness as our own.

So Joe and I have decided that for our family, Christmas is going to be about Jesus, not Santa. We celebrate what God has done through Jesus everyday. And once a year we get a holiday to help us stop and think that extra bit more. We pray that you will too.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Kanoko

I have now finished 2 pairs of Kanoko Pants.



Pair number 1 is now 'llama wear'. He received many compliments (from knitters and non-knitters) when he showed them off around town this week.

I will knit him another pair (at some point) in a larger size. Current pair only fit comfortably in disposable nappies (he's often in cloth), and at his current growth rate, won't fit him in the new year.




Specs:

Yarn: Moda Vera Supremo (100% cotton). On special at Spotlight last year for some ridiculously small amount. It's a frustrating yarn to work with. Quite nubbly, and a bit raw, so even moss stitches are not easy.
Needles: 4.0 mm knitpicks options
Pattern: Kanoko Pants
Mods: Shortened the legs.



Pair number 2 is in my 'stash of knitted items for babies due next year'.



For this pair, I removed the things that frustrated me when knitting the first pair.


Specs:
Same pattern & needles.
Yarn: Bendigo 8 ply cotton (much, much nicer to knit with, so smooth and soft)
Mods: Used a provisional cast on, and knitted in the stitches to form the casing at the end of the rib. Joined to work in the round for first 10 rows, so the waistband didn't separate. Chained the drawstring first, then inserted it into the casing as I knitted the casing together. Added two extra stitches to the cast on (so that rib edges would match), then knitted 2 together when I rejoined to work in the round at the end of the rib. Then with an uneven number of stitches the moss stitch would look nicer at the join. Lengthened the rise (waist to crotch) by 2-3 rows, and shortened the legs.


All up, I'm happy with the changes. And will use them when I make Llama's next pair.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Water, wool and wires

Before Christmas, I must block this ...


The aim is to use these...


I picked up on a suggestion made by knitabulous. The guitar strings cost $2.80 a pop. I bought four, and added another pack of flower headed pins to by blocking supplies (less than $15 all up!).

For a test run, I blocked a scarf that had been sitting in the laundry basket since we returned from Japan (in March).


It worked! And would work even better if I was a bit more patient (as I will be when I next have a go).

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Cast-On itis

My fingers are itching.

There are soooo many yummy patterns I want to knit.

But I've already got four projects on the needles (and one waiting to be blocked).
  1. The Man Jumper: Having fixed the shoulder cap, I'm having my third attempt at the sleeve (knitting the pattern as written, just for a change). Maybe the high likelihood of running out of yarn is influencing my reluctance to keep going?
  2. Fairy Floss: My current lace fix. An Estonian lace stole, knitted in wool I picked up in Japan. 13 pattern repeats down, 28 to go.
  3. Kanoko Pants: Stash busting with purpose! With Llama's frequent 'posseting', separates are the way to go at the moment.
  4. Woollen Soaker (pdf link): The plan for llama-wear this summer is singlet tops with funky knitted nappy covers (they look good, and keep the moisture in!)

So what's tempting me at the moment?

Campfire Socks

Christmas Tree Ornaments

Beer Cosies

Cabled Baby Vest

Garter stitch Baby Jacket

A crown

Maybe I've been spending too much time online, and not enough time on the lounge (with my knitting).

Monday, 1 December 2008

Little Legs

Since we've brought our little llama back from the hospital the weather has been oh so changeable. I commented as such to my mum, and her (ever practical) reply was ... "Well that's Spring weather isn't it."

Trying to figure out what clothes I will wear for the day is often a challenge. Especially given the likelihood that I will need to change out of clothes that have been contaminated with some form of bodily fluid throughout the day.

Trying the choose clothes for the little one can be even more of a challenge*, and the chance of them becoming quickly soiled is even higher. A lot of his jumpsuits have long sleeves, but no legs. Great for nappy inspections, but that won't stop his legs going purple when the mercury drops.

The solution .... Leg warmers!
Knitted (of course)

And here is the pattern:

Little Legs

Needles: 3.25 mm dpns (or circs if they take your fancy)
Yarn: Shepherd 4 ply
Gauge: 12 sts (of K1tbl, P1 rib) to 1" worked in the round.

To fit legs with below knee circumference of 14 cm (a snug fit). Adjust the number of stitches as necessary for your gauge or required dimensions.

Rib Cast On: Basically cable cast on, but stitches drawn up knitwise then purlwise. Use a slip knot to create first stitch. Insert needle into stitch knitwise, draw through a loop and place on left needle (keeping initial stitch).* Insert needle purlwise (from the back)between the last two stitches, draw through a loop and place on left needle. Insert needle knitwise (from the front) between the last two stitches, draw through a loop and place on left needle. Repeat from * till you have the desired number of stitches.

Cast on 36 sts using rib cast on, and distribute over dpns. Mark beginning of the round.

Round 1: [K1tbl, P1] Repeat for round.

Repeat round one until leg warmers are 9cm long (or desired length).

Heel:
BO 18 sts in rib, [K1tbl, P1] across remaining sts. Turn (you may want to place all the stitches onto one needle).
[K1, P1tbl] repeat to end. Turn.
[K1tbl, P1] repeat to last stitch.
Turn work to cast on 18 sts using rib cast on (starting with a stitch created knitwise), and redistribute stitches over needles to work in the round. Hint: I find having the first two stitches of the round on the last needle makes joining easier.

Stirrup:
Work 3 more rounds of Round 1
BO all stitches in rib.

Weave in ends.

Work second leg warmer to match


*Except when the bulk are in the wash, and the choice is seriously restricted.