First up, some business housekeeping: I still haven’t completed a new website. The learning curve for new software or programs can really bog me down to the point of inertia. And now I’m going through the throes of figuring out a simple, straightforward accounting register that I can input all my bank transactions without the need to input a ton of information. I’ve used Quicken 2002 since it first came out and have been perfectly happy with it. But, as with the website software, it’s on the old beast which is prone to crashing. The newer Quicken releases have lots of negative reviews so I’ve been looking at open source software. But everything seems more complex than I need. What I want is to be able to record all transactions and access category reports so I can easily get the figures for tax work. If anyone has insight, experience or suggestions, please let me know. My guts are beginning to churn at the thought that I’m so far behind in preparing for taxes and with a grandchild due sometime later this month I’d love to get this monkey off my back! Until the taxes are filed I’m not going to be spending any more time than necessary on the website and other business end of work. (By evening I can barely handle the thought of working at the computer any longer and thus the knitting, spinning, music, reading…)
Aurora had another baby shower coming up within a week. The odds weren’t good I be able to finish knitting Baby Yours in time to seam, wash and dry it. Besides, I was chomping at the bit to do some spinning.
Thursday evening I dug through the stash until the Crown Mountain Farms pencil roving, Rise of the Phoenix came to light. Aurora doesn’t want to be inundated with pink girly things for her baby daughter. With time of an essence the Louet Victoria wheel was employed as I aimed for another lofty semi-bulky yarn. A couple hours later and the yarn was hanging to dry.
Saturday morning I set about Knooking a baby cocoon.
Pattern: Eskimo Kiss Hooded Cocoon from Welcoming Baby Home the Handcrafted Way by Tricia Drake (also available at Amazon but you really ought to see the adorable pictures on Tricia’s – TrickyKnits etsy site!)
The pattern calls for US 19 / 15.75 needles and I did round up my set of #19s but a quick sample of gauge showed they were too big for my not-so-thick handspun. No matter, I’d been itching to try more knooking, so I pulled out the Size N / 10 mm knook Ed had made for me and away I went, spot on gauge!
The technique is similar to crochet, except the end results look like knitted fabric! The hook has a hole drilled into the other end which the white cord slips through. The cord is not knotted but remains free which allows one to go in circles. The cord hold the stitches in place until you’re ready to work them again. Flat work or round work, knit stitches and purl stitches can be mastered with a bit of time and effort. This is the second project I’ve done. The first one felt very awkward and laborious but with this one my hands were accustom to the different action and the cocoon grew quickly by the inches. As you can see from the picture, instead of hooking the yarn from underneath as in typical crochet, the hook grabs the yarn from above.
As the work goes across a row, or round, occasionally I’ll stop and pull the end of the cord through the now worked stitches of the previous row. Sorry I didn’t think to take a picture of the other end of the hook so you can see how as the stitches reach the end of the tapered hook they easily slide off on to the cord waiting for the hook to come around to pick them up and work the next row. (The white yarn with bead is the stitch marker for the back center.)
One slight modification I made to the pattern was not to decrease at the foot end of the cocoon but rather to leave it completely open so it’d be a cinch to change diapers if needed. Instead I slipped a drawcord through the next to the last row. When I cast off (super easy with a knook!) I left the white cord in the previous row to act as a guide for threading the drawcord through.
The only thing left to do was to go back to and seam the hoodie part then purl a couple rows for the face. I needed bulkier yarn so went back to the spinning wheel and within an hour had 20 some yards spun and hanging to dry.
It’s still a challenge to spin bulky but I’m getting better at it with each attempt! This averaged 3 wpi. Compare the bulky spin on the left to the original project spin at the right.
Sunday it was a breeze to finish the purl rows and set it in a warm bath for a soak then rinse.
This cocoon is exclusively for the newborn child and won’t be used for more than a few weeks – at the most, but I can imagine how cocooned a baby feels in one of these warm, soft nests. It’s not fancy or exquisite as some of Tricia’s models but it should be well suited for Aurora’s little girl. Picture of the entire cocoon, with baby inside, to be posted. 🙂
Completely different subject: Is any one else having problems getting with Blogger word verification? I’ve not been able to leave any comments on Blogger friends’ posts for almost 2 months. It’s been very discouraging. Though I’m not often leaving comments these days (bad person!) there are times I really want to leave a comment but blogger kepts wanting me to try the word again. I’ve emailed Blogger and Google about this as I’m not even able to leave a comment when I’ve logged on with my Google account.