Monday, September 12, 2011

Frenchie McKnitsalot

A few years ago, one of my then-boyfriend-now-husband’s friends, in a completely nice way, asked: “So, what are your hobbies?”. My response was a very decided “Uhhhh… I like to go to restaurants. Does that count? I also like to drink Margaritas?”. I found it so strange that, #1, someone was asking me about hobbies, and #2 that I seriously couldn’t come up with an answer other than eating and drinking. In my head, I can justify my lack of answer by telling myself that I was 24 and in law school. I am not going to pretend that I was one of those people who spent every waking moment outside of class studying, but it still took up a huge chunk of my time. Also, when I wasn’t studying, like, on Saturdays, I was usually hung over from above-stated hobbies.

I had learned to knit in college from a couple of girls in my sorority. My roommates and I all learned together, and we made a couple of scarves here and there. My biggest knitting accomplishment by the time I graduated was a Gryffindor scarf, which I think I wore to one of the Harry Potter movies. Striped scarf, basically. During law school, I probably made a couple more scarves. When I graduated law school, and while I was taking BarBri courses, I got a terrible job as a law clerk. This was seriously the worst job I’ve ever had, including the 3 weeks I spent as one of those people who stands on the sidewalk asking people whether they had a second for    fill in the blank related to the Environment   . She was a super conservative sole practitioner who worked out of her apartment. She was in her 60s, had never been married, and had craploads of hobbies. She had 3 harps in her living room, a membership to the Lyric Opera, tons and tons and tons of books, and a basket full of yarn. She was a really interesting woman when she wasn’t criticizing me for living with B before we were married, or even engaged. (Once, she asked if I wanted help with a cover letter I wrote applying for a family law position, when she got to the part when I was writing about family values, she laughed and said : "Yeah right, you don't have family values living with your boyfriend".) She ended up firing me, claiming that she looked on the internet history of the computer I was working on and saw that I had checked my personal email and looked at a blogs. I didn’t lie, I told her that I did do those things from time to time. She then said she didn’t know what those websites were, and that she thought those might be disguises for porn. Yeah… that’s exactly what Lag Liv is.
Anyway, I did get one good thing out of that job. For Christmas, she gave me a beginner's knitting book, with simple and easy to follow patterns. She suggested that I YouTube the instructions I couldn't figure out from the text. And from there, I became a real knitter. I started making hats, and I made a pretty baby blanket for my not yet born nephew, Tyler. When I was done, I picked up one of those free knitting patterns they give out at Michael's for an adult sized throw blanket. It was 6'x6' and had cables. I wish had a picture of that one to show you guys, but since it was my first real big project, my stitches weren't even enough and it hasn't held up very well.
The second I got pregnant, my knitting went from a now and then hobby to a full on obsession. I made Mia a striped cable knit blanket, which this time, came out very even and has held up to a few machine washes on the gentle cycle. She has a matching hat, which I made quickly afterwards. All the yarn colors I used match her nursery bedding from PB Kids.

I have made her 4 sweaters, one which she outgrew before I was even finished. I hadn't finished by the time she was born, since she came a few days before our scheduled induction. Once she was born, I didn't have the energy to do anything but lay down and watch tv between feedings and diaper changes, so it was too small by the time it was even done:

The second cardigan I made, I was super meticulous with. Also, I was super nervous that it was going to be too small again, that I followed the directions for 6-12 months. It turned out really well, just... a tad large:

It's not a big deal that it's so big, really. She doesn't need a sweater here in Vegas until late October/early November, and by then, it won't be so huge. Sidenote: Yes, Mia has the CRAZIEST HAIR EVER. I swear, I don't neglect it. If I don't put a hat on her for HOURS after her bath, it'll come out like this about 10 minutes after she gets out. If I do put the hat on her for the proper amount of time, it turns out like this by the end of the next day, so... yeah. She's got crazy hair, and I'm living with it.

The second sweater I made with this ridiculously expensive yarn that I bought at a yarn boutique near my house. I was so excited to find a place to buy specialty yarns, I kind of let myself go a bit. This is a cotton/bamboo blend that was at $12.00 for a 50g skein. (For comparison, at Michael's yarn costs no more than $4.99. I've bought plain cotton yarn for 88 cents for a 75g skein before. I'll show you what I made with that one in a sec.) The yarn was so gorgeous, it was different shades of purple. There's no predicting what it will look like all knit up, but when the yarn was all balled up, I couldn't resist it. This sweater ended up costing $24... and ended up looking a little too much like a Cosby sweater for my taste. But I don't care, she'll wear it and so will any other girl babies that I might have in the future.

Pretty purple Cosby sweater.
Lastly, I made a green professor cardigan. It has a rolled up collar, and looks like I should have inserted some elbow pads. I absolutely love it, but it's a bit narrower than I had hoped. Most patterns come with ample belly space for baby bellies, but the woman who designed it clearly didn't have a baby of her own. She'll wear this one straight away, on those chilly Vegas nights. RIGHT. Still cute.

I added heart buttons to make sure she still looks like a girl.
  In addition to baby clothes, I've also taken to making stuffed animals. I've made three of them so far, and I've had a lot of fun with these. I have a feeling that kids aren't going to like them as much as they would like store bought stuffed animals, but I'm OK with that. First up, I made a Teddy Bear while I was still pregnant with Mia. This one sits in her crib, waiting for her to care a bit.

My first stuffed animal. Kind of embarassingly bad, actually. But still, I made it!
The second animal I made for our nephew, Tyler. I sent it to him at Easter. I used the same yarn on this bunny as I did on his baby blanket.

Lastly, and the item I am most proud of to date, is this guy:

By far the most complicated item I've made. It only took a week to knit up, but it's putting together all the little pieces of shell that was so time consuming. I love it. I thought it was so great because it can double as  cushion. This was for Tybalt's first birthday. This is the item I made using the 88 cent cotton skeins! It only took a bit of yarn from each skein, and a couple of the light blue ones for the shell edging and underbelly.

So, that's it for my knitting post. I'll continue to post pictures of my completed projects. I'm working on (another) cardigan for Miss Mia, this one will have some varied stitches and is in a 100% supima cotton that I also bought at the specialty yarn store. I made it following the 6-12 month instructions, too. So, it'll be a spring sweater. Next on the project queue (that's what Ravelry calls it, and I like that term, like Netflix!) is a "mushroom beret" for myself, and then a double breasted coat for Miss Mia. Also coming up, knits from this book B surprised me with last week:

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