Tag Archive | handmade gifts

Review: Appalachian Baby Organic Cotton

Last year I got to work with Appalachian Baby Design to review their Organic Cotton yarn, so when another opportunity arose, I accepted with pleasure. This time they offered a pattern as well, so I chose the Boho Baby Blanket, knowing I have a friend expecting a baby late this spring. I’m not usually a fan of knitting blankets, but I make an exception for new babies. They are totally knit-worth small humans, so they get blankets!

I could choose between pink and silver, and indigo and silver, and I chose indigo, thinking it might be the more versatile color. The yarn came beautifully packaged in a gauze bag, along with the pattern printed on sturdy cardstock. It would certainly make an attractive gift! The kit came with four skeins of indigo and two of silver, and one of my favorite things about this yarn is how easy it is to find the center-pull end! (It may not seem that important, but truly, it is.) The pattern was clear and well-written, and I quickly memorized the pattern repeats.

Though I’d originally planned to space out the knitting over two months, this soon became my nightly TV knitting project. I didn’t have to think about the pattern, and the yarn was soft in my hands, so it became kind of soothing. The yarn was rather splitty, but I find that to be true of most cotton yarns, so I could just roll with it.

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The yarn is a 4-ply sport weight, with 194 yards per ball, and I used almost all four indigo balls and about one and a half of the silver. My final product had the correct dimensions, but I only had 13 repeats of the pattern instead of the 17 that were written. Gauge, y’all. Thank goodness it doesn’t matter that much for a blanket!

My finished blanket went in the washer on cool and delicate, then in the dryer, and it came out even softer. I love using easy-care yarns for baby gifts! I also love using yarns without harsh dyes: Appalachian Baby uses a low-impact, earth-friendly dying process that I feel good about using for a baby.

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I just love the wavy chevron stitch! What a perfectly cozy blanket for a new baby boy, right? I probably should wait for a baby shower, but I wish I could give it to her now. If you need some soft cotton for a baby gift, be sure to check out the Appalachian Baby assortment!

Sending a special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and Appalachian Baby Design who sent me The Boho Baby Blanket Kit (retail: $73.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

 

Time to switch things up

Monogamy is boring, guys. Seriously. I’ve been working on one project for the last week, at least, and I’m getting a little tired of it, especially since it’s not even done yet! It makes for good progress but not good blogging, really. This is my Boho Baby Blanket with Appalachian Baby Organic Cotton.

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According to the pattern, I’m a little past the halfway point, but according to the yarn I’m close to 3/4 done. No, I didn’t check my gauge. It’s a blanket, it’s all good. At this point it covers Jack pretty well, so that must mean it will soon be baby blanket sized. (Also, can I just say: my next couch will definitely be leather. The dog hair doesn’t stick to that!)

I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed by my nine WIPs and needed to counter that with some sense of accomplishment, and since the blanket is my only WIP with a deadline, it’s been my focus. I feel good about it now; I have plenty of time to get it finished. And that’s a good thing because I got some new needles in the mail today that I’m desperate to test, so despite having those nine WIPs that are looming over my head, I’m going to cast on a new project today. I know. It’s crazy. What can I say? Knitters are crazy. At least it will be a hat, so it’ll be a quick project.

Also, today is Jack’s birthday and he is five! I’m so glad we picked him out at the shelter four and a half years ago!

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He’s a good boy. I like him.

A new blanket

Along with all the smaller, quicker projects on my needles, I have one more ambitious project: a blanket. Now, it’s a baby blanket, so it’s smaller and hopefully quicker, but still, there’s a reason I don’t make very many blankets. (They take me forever because I get bored. Or I get bored because they take forever. Chicken or egg?) But this one is a review project, and a gift, so I have extra motivation to complete it. I’m making the Boho Baby Blanket by Appalachian Baby Design in Indigo and Silver. It has sixteen pattern repeats, so I did some math and determined that I just need to do two repeats per week to finish on time. And I am right on track!

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I usually work on this on the weekend, so that I also have time for my selfish knitting, and I’ve memorized the pattern so that the knitting has sped up. It’s a pretty pattern, and I think the baby’s mom will appreciate it, but I don’t think blankets will ever be my favorite thing to knit!

 

A Scarf in a Weekend?

Okay, not quite but almost! One of my Christmas knitting projects is a scarf for a nephew. He requested pale blue and white, neither of which were colors in my acrylic stash, so Saturday morning I headed to the closest big-box craft store. Just my luck: they were having a buy-two, get one free sale! I got the yarn I need for my other Christmas project, and for this scarf I chose more of the Lion Brand Jeans yarn, this time in the faded blue color, plus some Vanna White white. (Except when I started knitting with it, the Vanna White worsted was thicker and not as soft, so I pulled out a partial skein of KnitPicks Brava worsted in white instead.) I cast on that afternoon and it’s been my only project this weekend. He’s only five so it doesn’t need to be a big scarf, which means that the 47″ I have tonight is very close to being long enough. If he’s 45″ tall, and I make the scarf 60″, that’s plenty long enough, right?

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But that’s not all I got at the store. I kind of went past this jumbo yarn on my way out and…well, buy 2 get 1 free, you know?? It’s a good deal. So this went into my cart too.

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Pretty sure it’ll be a couple of cowls, but not anytime soon. I have more Christmas knitting to do!

 

Holiday Recap

Oh, Christmas. I do love spending time with family, and I love all the food, and of course I love presents. But the holidays are also stressful and busy and exhausting, and I have to admit I’m a bit relieved it’s all over. Now if only I could get someone to take down my decorations for me! Apparently I was very good this year; I was quite spoiled by my family and received lots of delightful gifts, many of them yarn-related. People even got brave and picked out yarn on their own for me (and did very well, I might add). Why, just look at all these treasures!

I’ve already put some of it in use too. One set of needles is holding a new sock with the Biscotte Gryffindor yarn, a simple stockinette sock for me. Another set of needles is holding the second sock for the husband that didn’t get done before Christmas. And one skein of the pink Malabrigo Rasta has already been turned into the best cowl ever, simple and warm and cozy and gorgeous. And I used every last bit of yarn too, which is quite satisfying.

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I used the Feedback pattern as the base, but modified the number of stitches cast on. I haven’t decided whether the second skein should be a pompom hat or this adorable bag, so it’s set aside while I ponder.

The holiday provided so much knitting time that I was able to finish the Seattle Seahawks hat for my friend’s husband too. She was pleased with it, and thinks he’ll love it. I hope so! I really like that bright stripe of green.

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All the knitted gifts I made were well-received and seemed to fit well, and I really loved gifting socks. I’m thinking I’d like to do more next year, but we’ll just have to see how that goes!

 

 

 

Knitting as Distraction

This is why it’s hard to have puppers: one of my dogs is sick. Grace is lethargic and not eating and we don’t know why, and it breaks my heart. She was at the vet yesterday, no fever, no obvious answers, so she got some medicine and soft food. Today she’s refusing the soft food so she’s back to the vet today to get some blood work done. I’m kind of a mess, partly because I’m worried and partly because it brings back bad memories. We lost a very special dog at this time of year four years ago, and it feels too similar. I know it’s not; the symptoms are different. But it’s still triggering some powerful stuff, and I’m struggling, if I’m being honest. Winter is tough for me, emotionally, and it’s been a stressful few months for everyone in my house, so I think I’m already worn down. Thankfully, I have wonderful bosses who are understanding when I need time off, and lovely friends, and my knitting. Always my knitting! It can be a good distraction at times, and when not a distraction, a comfort.

I’ve been doing some Christmas knitting, though not as much as I wanted to be doing. I made some very cute mitts for my youngest nephew. The white glows in the dark, so maybe that will be a fun surprise for him.

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These were so fast to make that I think I need to make some for my boss’s twins, who are even smaller than my nephew, so those mitts would take no time at all! And I could use up some leftover yarn bits too. Win for everyone, right?

I’m almost done with a pair of socks, too. These are my second pair of Petty Harbor socks, though this time I just did a stockinette foot rather than carry the pattern down.

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I’m almost out of the purple, and I’m debating about just using the gray when I run out. Why not have a longer gray toe? I do have a second skein of the purple, but then I’d have more ends to weave in. And if I just use the gray, I can plan ahead and get a whole pair of short socks out of the second skein of purple. Really, I’m just kicking myself because if I’d done gray heels like I’d planned, I’d probably have plenty of purple to finish. Oh well, that’s kind of the nice thing about socks: they go into your shoes and it’s all right if they’re not perfectly matched. So I’m going to take my little sock and go sit with my sick pupper until it’s time to go to the vet, and cross my fingers that we get good news.

Two Finished Gifts

I feel like I’m running in place with my Christmas knitting. I finish projects but I still have ones waiting in the wings, so I don’t feel like I’m getting ahead. But still, I did finish two projects the other day, and that’s a relief. The first is the pair of Lightning McQueen mittens, the project where the first mitten came out too big and I had to frog it and reknit it. My second try was much more successful.

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Hooray, two matching mittens! These are actually a birthday gift that I’ll give today, so here’s hoping they actually fit the little boy they’re for. Pattern is World’s Simplest Mittens by Tin Can Knits.

My second FO is a pair of Christmas-gift socks, the Strutting Peacock socks that I’ve had on the needles since mid-November. (Feels like longer.) This wasn’t a fun knit for me. I don’t think I like the Knit Picks Chroma for socks, at least not for socks with twisted stitches. The colors are pretty, and the final socks do feel dense and warm, but the yarn sticks to itself a lot, making tinking and frogging difficult. I bought more colors in the big sale, so I’ll try another pair with a simpler pattern and see if I like it better.

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I do like the look of the pattern. It took a little while for me to memorize, but I was able to do the second sock mostly without the pattern. My only modification was to do a stockinette foot rather than carry the pattern down, to make for faster knitting. I think I’d like to try this pattern again with better yarn.

Last night was a band concert, the girl’s last District Band concert. She played beautifully, they sounded wonderful, and I had lots of knitting time. I chose the simplest of knitting so that I could watch her while I listened and knit, and made good progress on my Scrappy Cowl.

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This is a pretty fun project. I think I’m going to like this cowl a lot! But for now I’ve set it aside because I need to focus on more gift knitting. The boy has a girlfriend, and he would like me to make a cowl for the girlfriend. I like the boy, so I will do my best to complete that along with the other two gift projects on my list! Are you done with your gift knitting yet?