Best Laid Plans…

Remember the baby cocoon that I mentioned making with my handspun yarn a few weeks ago, followed the next week by making a hat for Gus and beginning another hat for Feathers with the remaining yarn? The day before Aurora went into labor I stayed up late finishing Feather’s hat so I could give it to her the next day.

She too loved her hat. I’m sure it’s the crochet butterfly that won her over. (Sorry for the blurry pictures – my camera has been dropped a few too many times; it’s getting increasingly harder to take a sharp image without a tripod.)

Sadly Gus hadn’t worn his hate to the hospital that morning so I wasn’t able to take a picture of them together wearing their matching hats. Here’s the picture from the previous week.

When making the hats I deliberately used more of the blue/grey sections of the handspun yarn for Gus’s hat and the red/orange sections predominately in Feather’s hat.  I had grand plans of a picture of these three grandchildren in their matching handspun wools. Alas, it was not to be. Unexpected circumstances had made MJ come to Oregon two weeks earlier than she’s originally planned and by the time Aurora had Violet our son had flown out here so he could drive back with MJ on Saturday. They only had a  brief time Saturday morning with Aurora and Violet before they headed for the long trip back home. Aurora hadn’t packed the cocoon for the hospital and I wasn’t about to make a big deal out of trying to make it work.

 

Try to picture the two children above wearing their hats, sitting together with Violet/

The Baby Cocoon, officially known as the Eskimo Kiss Hooded Cocoon, pg 94 of Welcoming Baby Home by Tricia Drake. I used a N/10mm Knook that Ed made for me for the Cocoon and a J/6mm Knook for both hats.

When Violet was five days old Aurora put her into the Cocoon. She loved it! She’d been a bit fussy but as soon as she was snuggled into the cocoon she relaxed and fell asleep.

That afternoon friends stopped by to see Violet and visit. Nine month old Baby Ava was very intrigued by this real doll.
I modified the pattern with an opening at the bottom and the drawstring for quick diaper changing. We also found it easier to slip the cocoon over Violet’s head.

In the early stages of Aurora’s labor I spent some time with my newest spindle, a cunning sweet Sycamore Aegean. The plan is the spun Newhuehandspun Bamhuey, Moon Beams colorway, fiber will be made into something to give to Aurora. I have no idea what it’s to be though I’m spinning quite fine.

 

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Anticipation

Preparations are steadily moving forward in anticipation of the new granddaughter. After making the cocoon I dug the Baby Yours sweater out of the bag and worked steadily on it until it too was finished, right down to the cute little buttons Ed and I found when we visited Twisted in December.

Look how tiny it is! My thumb just fits into the sleeve.Pattern: Baby Yours by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill, Superwash Merino 4oz/420 yards Colorway: Jade
Needles: #2 – Ed’s needles
This pattern is worked flat and seamed together when finished. By the time I started on the arms I was eager to be finished so I worked both arms side by side on the same circs (not in the round). It was a bit of a challenge to remember which direction and which side I was on and there was a time that one sleeve was suddenly 6 rows longer than the other one. After that I used a stitch marker at the beginning of the right sleeve, front side to help me know which sleeve was which. Otherwise it was a fun pattern to knit.

As soon as Baby Yarns was blocked and drying I spun up the rest of the Crown Mountain Farms Rising of the Phoenix roving hoping to get enough yarn to make a couple hats. Spinning for a worsted I ended up with only 78 yards.  Not wanting to find more roving that would work with the RotP yarn I looked through my stash of handspun yarns and found a happy surprise – the CMF roving, Locomotive Breath, that I spun last fall made a suitable complimentary yarn. Though it’s a three ply yarn and the RotP is a two-ply they are about the same thickeess and have been behaving very well together.

Taking up a J/6mm Knook I cast on 4 loops and crocheted the first few rounds then switched to knooking the rest of the hat.
I had to do a bit of ripping out and adjusting to get the size right since I was flying by the seat of my pants without a pattern – jotting notes as I went. I’m very happy with how it turned out.The colors are pretty true to the yarn in the two pictures above. The one below is washed out.

Little buddy loves the hat that grammi made for him, and it fits great – with room to grow!

Yes! The two grandkids drove to Oregon with their mommy so they could be here when Aurora has her baby!

As soon as Gus’s hat was finished I cast on with the remaining yarn a hat for Feather. This time I’m making it from the bottom up and am about half way finished. I am sure that it will be finished in the next day, or two – depending on how much knooking time I get. The plan is to take group pictures of the three grandkids together with baby in her cocoon and the cousins in their hats made with some of the same yarn. It’s a race between getting work done, knooking and fiddle practice.

Crooked Finger Band has a St Patrick’s gig in Milwaukee on Saturday and there are a couple pieces I’d like to work up a bit more speed under my fingers and bow. I’m hoping that the baby will not decide to send her mommy into labor that Saturday.The  imminent arrival would leave the band without their fiddler, but a new baby to admire and love.

Baby Cocoon

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!

After returning home from violin practice with the strings ensemble Friday evening I cast on and merry knooked through the evening.

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.