Thursday, 20 June 2013

Random Act of Kindness

Apologies in advance for this very photo laden post!

Without a doubt some of the best people are knitters (crocheters and crafters in general too!!)!! Way back in January, Nicky (momoffour) sent me a message to say that some of the members of the Itty Bitty Knitters group on Ravelry wanted to do a little something as a gift for me and the baby. I was lost for words at the kindness behind such an offer. 
Well, the day after my last post, our little lady arrived and about a week later this wonderful gift from the Itty Bitty Knitters arrived. I was lost for words when we opened up the huge box of goodies. So much work was put into it! Not only had they included some baby and crafty bits and pieces they also knit the entire Spud and Chloe farm!! 

Here is the gift in all it's glory!

So first up the farm! The amount of work that went into this is just astounding and I love it all. It was made up of animals all designed by Susan B Anderson. I particularly love the colourful flock of sheep, headed up by Spud. This was inspired by the fact that sheep in Ireland are marked with coloured dye to mark ownership among other reasons. Another favourite were the two barn cats which were made to look like our cats Jasmine (the ginger cat) and Pearl (the black one).


Another adorable addition was a reversible bunny to duck toy. I can see kids getting a lot of fun out of this.

All the above patterns can be found in Spud and Chloe at the Farm book or in Susan's Ravelry shop.

To round out the farm the ladies made a farm land playmat and beautiful wooden tractor and truck (which the little man has loved playing with ever since!). The toys can be found at Green Bean Toys on etsy.

And as a fun addition some farm mac and cheese!

To add to all the farm-y goodness there were some lovely baby knits which followed the theme. These included matching farm hats for the little man and his new little sister and cute booties. Along with a whole stack of wash cloths and bibs!! If you ever want to an idea of what to knit as a baby gift I would highly recommend knitting wash cloths and bibs. These cotton bibs are much more absorbent than many of the ones available in shops and the wash cloths are just as wonderful. I have ones that are now coming up on 4 years old and are still as good as the day that I got them. They've been used to wash faces and clean up spills and countless other uses along the way. You can find many patterns on ravelry and can knit matching bibs and wash cloths with cute kiddie designs on them.

Finally, there was a cut sleepsuit for the little lady and a t-shirt for the little man. Oh and some towels! There is a bit of a story behind these towels. When I was pregnant with the little man Deb (lovetocraft on rav) sent me a lovely gift and included was a towel. This was the best baby towel I have ever come across. It's huge and it's still being used by my now 21 month old boy with plenty of growing room left. I wanted to get another couple for when the new baby arrived but unfortunately the 3 Marthas that produce the towels don't ship internationally. I also couldn't order them using my Irish credit card to have them shipped to an American address. Diana (grandmabuck) offered to get them for me and ship them and I would then pay her back through paypal. This was perfect. But Diana was being a bit sneaky as I found out later. She let me know that she ordered them but them said that one was out of stock and she was waiting on it. Then when she had them all she said she'd ship them once term ended (I know how busy the end of term is!). Once she had them shipped she was going to let me know how much it all was so that I could reimburse her. Well, I got a huge surprise when they were included in my gift! These are just wonderful towels and will be put to very good (and long) use!

Finally, there were some lovely crafty goodies for me. The wonderful project bag in the bottom left is made by an itty bitty Heather (mommytofive) and they can be bought in her etsy shop, Luv Bug Bags.

Details of some of the projects can be found here.

I still can't believe that amount of work and organisation that went into such an amazing gift! I'm completely lost for words. I love everything and I know that there will be many, many hours of fun had by the kids playing with everything. Thank you all so much.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Baby Knits

Well I'm back at last to show you some of the knits for my little one. The photo above shows most of them. There are a couple that are packed away in my hospital bag ready and waiting for this little one to wear when he or she makes their appearance. I showed you the Sunnyside cardigan in this post so I won't repeat myself here.

First up is the Cuddles and Cables blanket. I knit this before for the little man and I loved the pattern so much it was my go to baby blanket this time too. This time I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK and it took just under 5 balls.

For this little one I was determined to use a lot of my stash yarn.  So for this Gift Wrap Sweater, below, I dug around and found some left over Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran which I thought would work well. 

This is the 12 months size and under 2 balls of the main orange colour and a little over 1 ball of the pale yellow. I did have to buy an extra ball of the main colour as I ran out with just a couple of inches of the second arm and the button band to go. It was my own fault as I had originally planned to knit the 6 months size (and I had enough yarn for that) but managed to follow the instructions for the 12 months size, which I didn't realise until I had the body finished. No problem though as it will be good for the winter,

My next stash buster was this Puerperium in the 0-3 months size. I used South West Trading Company TOFUtsies yarn held double and followed the DK instructions. 

 This Cable yoked cardigan was knit in Rico Design Essentials Merino DK. It knits up quiet small for a 0-6 months size but I like the A-line shape.
I chose Korrigan for the baby's baptism cardigan. I like the cable yoke and it's plain enough that it will go well with my family's baptism gown which is quite lacey. The pattern calls for fingering weight and I wanted to use Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino so I cast on for the 0/1 month size and used the lengths for 3 months. It worked out well I think. The pattern translation wasn't great and I didn't like the construction so I think if I was to knit this again I'd make some changes. 

The hat is The woodcutters baby hat by Kelly Brooker, in Debbie Bliss Rialto leftovers. It's a cute free pattern for a square top hat. It has a leaf cable pattern on either side.

My final knit was some Pepita overalls knit in Sirdar Town & Country 4 ply Sock yarn. The pattern has the legs knit in the round but for easier nappy access I wanted to add a button band at the legs. I also didn't add the socks so as to get a bit longer wear. Before starting the legs I put the crotch stitches onto waste yarn. I then knit the legs flat and rejoined to knit in the round just before the ribbing at the ankle. For the button band, I picked up 74 stitches on the front (including the 21 crotch stiches) and knit 6 rows of 2x2 rib. I did the same for the back. I didn't add button holes as I plan on reinforcing the band with some ribbon and adding snap fasteners. I'm just waiting on the ribbon that I ordered to arrive.

I'm sure you've noticed that these weren't the only knits in the photo at the top of the post! My mother has also been knitting up a storm. This baby may be her 10th grandchild but that hasn't stopped her!! These are from patterns that she's had for many years and knit for all her grandchildren and some of her children too. I think the bottom two patterns probably come from the 70/80's while the one on the right was definitely pre-decimalisation of the Irish currency so the early 1960's or before.

Finally, are these cute booties and the penguin Milo. I received the booties from Amber in the  Earth Day mini swap and the Milo from Mel in the P is for... swap both in the Itty Bitty Knitters group on Ravelry. They are both so cute I can't wait to use them.
Now it's just a waiting game for this little one to decide that he/she want's to meet us as much as we want to meet them!