MICHELLE A, DO NOT READ THIS POST! (At least not without Josh checking first to make sure it doesn’t give away too much.)
So it turns out that being a matron of honor in your best friend’s wedding does not suffer the optimist who thinks “sure, i’ll have free time to keep blogging!” The wedding was beautiful, went off right as it should have, and I slept for a very long time afterwards. (Let’s hope the bride did too, amidst other activities.) Meanwhile, I’ve fallen behind on my 12 days. No fear: Day six will have to be backdated anyway, as I realized belatedly that I had (a) wrapped the gifts without taking a picture of them, and (b) the persons receiving them won’t get them ’till tomorrow at the earliest. Oops. Welcome to 2013, folks: the year for not having it together! But I will share Day 7 with you, late as it is.
There’s nothing quite so lovely when you are pregnant as having friends who share many of your attitudes and opinions about child-rearing ideals. It’s a task so intimidating that I need all the encouragement I get. It’s extra fun when you get to walk through the process together. So imagine my delight when I discovered my friend Michelle, already a crunchy granola mom with a 2-year-old, is preggers again, and due at the exact same time as I am!
Michelle has done some beautiful birth visualization art, and it was not long after we connected over our respective pregnancies that we had worked out a trade – I would knit her a layette of her choosing, and she’d make me a painting. One problem: Michelle doesn’t like to know the gender of her babies ahead of time. So when they went in for their mid-pregnancy ultrasound, her husband found out and shared the info with the relevant knitters in their lives. It is really weird knowing the gender of the baby inside someone else when they don’t know themselves. And I’m not about to broadcast that information to the rest of the internet, either, so I’ve put all these pictures in black and white.
So I got to knitting. I picked up some Spud & Chloe: Sweater yarn at Fiber Space in four colors, and before we were home from Thanksgiving, I had most of a baby sack knit.
Michelle wanted a baby sack, and I really liked the ones that had hoods. But I couldn’t bring myself to pay for a pattern this simple. And all the free patterns kinda sucked, or were at totally the wrong gauge. So I went to fudgetown. I knit the hood first, making essentially a giant short-row heel. It’s easily folded back if it gets in the way.
The bottom is more or less the top of a hat, finished with a kitchener stitch when I was down to 20 or so stitches.
In between, I had loads of fun mixing up the stripes. I rotated a series of five stripes: 4, 8, 4, 6, and 2 rows – with a series of eight colors: A, B, C, D, A, C, B, D. This more or less mixed them up enough, though I did a little extra switching the fly to make sure things were balanced. This type of striping kept stripes of the same color far enough apart from each other that it meant that every. single. stripe required the breaking of yarn and starting new yarn. Weaving in the ends took a day’s work by itself. But once I get into it, I find weaving in ends to be kind of calming. Or at least it doesn’t take that long.
The second item Michelle asked for was a hat. I don’t want to give away too much, but I settled on an amalgamation of a couple different patterns to produce a head-sized replica of a favorite edible fruit.
I had loads of leftovers of the two more gender neutral colors, so I just kept making tiny things. I was teaching a class on fair isle, so I made a version of this hat on 90 stitches. It’s a short and sweet pattern, easily adjusted by adding or removing a multiple of 10 stitches. It might be big enough to fit the older child of the A— family, but if not, it’ll serve as a good fall hat for the younger. (I forgot to take a picture of it before packing it up. Oh well; Michelle has a camera…)
Finally, Michelle had asked for some baby socks. I cast on a pair in those same gender-neutral colors, but I couldn’t keep things to just one color. Stripes kept happening, and before I knew it I had two pairs of seussian socks on my hands, of the fraternally matching variety. It took a lot of willpower to give away both pairs, let me tell you. I love seussian socks.
Yarn review: Spud & Chloe’s “Sweater” yarn is supposedly a 50/50 wool/cotton blend, but it feels and looks very cottony. Not in a bad way, but I was hoping things would come out… woolier. Still, the colors are lovely and rich, begging to be mixed together, and it’s nice stuff to work with. I would use it again if I had need for a lighter summer sweater, and if I could again get it for 30% off, because it is expensive. Ouch.
I’ve got full-color pictures to spare, but I’m hoping I can show these to you again in a couple of months when they are adorning a baby. It was hilarious knitting these because everyone thought they were for the resident of my own protruding belly, and I had to disappoint. But don’t worry… I’ll get on the knitting for Cyrilla soon… just not yet.