FO: Pairfect Socks In Awesome Stripes

Mr Awesome’s socks are finally finished. I say finally, as I see that the first time I wrote about these was on the 20th October, 2015, so I must have cast them on when Baby Awesome was only a month old, and he is now fast approaching being a year old.

I magic looped the socks two at a time to avoid second sock syndrome. It did work in that now that I have finished, both socks are complete and ready to wear, but goodness me it did feel like acres of stockinette in the round, even if you really can’t compete with a simple vanilla stock for classic wear and function, and with a yarn like Regia’s Pairfect they can also come with oodles of style.Regia’s tried and tested fibre blend is hard-wearing and holds colour well, and the unique dye pattern of the yarn allows for two perfectly paired socks with a wide cuff, striped leg and plain foot. I bought a couple of colourways of this yarn, and now that I have put it to it’s obvious and suggested use I want to see if I can put the next skein to some other, more innovative knitting idea. Perhaps gloves, maybe a baby garment. The stripe pattern has a few possibilities, though I may have to manipulate and re-wind the skein a bit to experiment.
The last 2/3rds of the socks took a couple of days to knit, and I’m glad to have the needles free again. One fewer Project lingering in unrealised potential is a positive thing, and as the finished socks are a gift for my husband (happy birthday for, uh, February, Mr Awesome!), it feels especially good to be able to finally pass on the gift (don’t feel too sorry for him, he did get other gifts).

To knit both socks at once I had to re-wind the yarn into two matching skeins as the yarn is supplied in one 100g ball and beginning of each sock is denoted by a few yards of bright yellow yarn (which serves only as a marker and is not intended to be knit). Regia Pairfect yarn would work perfectly for any sock pattern knit top down: the stripes form the leg, and then any combination of heel and toe could be knit once the solid block of colour was reached. Toe up socks could be knit if the yarn is rewound into a reverse cake, though if the knitter wished the striped legs to begin at the ankle, a cut and join might have to be made once the foot was complete.

I want to clear at least one more outstanding project off the list before I even think about casting on anything new, and I still have a pattern to format and publish, but I think it was an important step getting those stitches on the needle and the project swiftly finished off.

V-Shaped Shawl Test Knit Open

The test knit for this new Eskimimi Makes design of a shoulder-hugging V-shaped shawl is now open on the Eskimimi Makes group on Ravelry.
All of the details for the text knit can be found in the group for anyone who wishes to offer to partake. There is yarn to be won and free download codes on offer to all those who take part in the test knit. Additionally, I will be looking for name suggestions for this new design.
Please pop along to the Eskimimi Makes group test knit to look over the details of the project and the pattern requirements!

New Shawl Pattern (Test Knit Gathering)

It’s been a long while since I released a new pattern. I actually finished designing and writing this pattern back in February, but never hit the publish button. The entire pattern is ready, apart from a few little formatting additions I want to make and a test knit.

I’m going to put out a call for a simple test knit over the weekend, but for now here is a sneak peek of the shawl that will soon be joining the pattern library:

The shawl has a practical and interesting wide V shaped construction, married with an easily memorised stitch pattern. The sample above is knit in a saturated violet colour with purple-lined turquoise glass beads for a vibrant pop of colour. Beads are optional and the shawl may be re-sized quite simply.

The dimensions of the sample shawl are given below, and as it is a relatively easy-going knit the shawl works up very quickly. It is very easy to wear as the shape allows the shawl to wrap around and sit on the shoulder line very comfortably, with the elongated V providing more balance at the front than a standard triangular construction.

Further details will be posted over the weekend on the Eskimimi Makes group on Ravelry and later on the blog, where I will give details of the test knit as well as further details of the shawl and pattern.

Eskimini’s First Make: Baby-Safe Cornflour Paint Recipe & Foot Fish

Yesterday was Father’s day, The first of Mr Awesome and Baby Awesome’s special daddy and son days with many more to come. We had a wonderful family day, where daddy and son wore matching t-shirts, we went on a family meal and decided to try our first ever crafting activity with The Eskimini.

As Baby Awesome’s manual dexterity amounts to mushing things into his face to see if they are tasty (and then eating them completely indiscriminately of whether they are or not), this was going to have to be an activity where he could lend a whole fist or foot to the activity, so we decided on footprints, made into fishies. And as there is nothing more tasty than baby toes to a super-flexible baby, I made a batch of cornflour-based paint, made only with food cupboard ingredients, just in case he got it in his mouth at any point.

There are a few recipes for various types of food-based paints on the internet, including ones using cornflour, however, I haven’t seen one that works in quite the same way as the one that I use, and this is the one that suits me best. It takes around 2-3 minutes to make, because babies and toddlers are impatient. You’ll need:

  • cornflour 1-2 tablespoons
  • water
  • food colouring*
  • Kettle
  • microwave and microwaveable pot/container
  • Spoon to mix

*A note on colouring choice: I used Dr Oetker’s gel food colouring with no artificial colour, but the paste food colourings (Wiltons, etc) tend to give a stronger colour: some use artificial colourants, some do not. All are food safe but you should make your own choice on whether you want artificial colourants or not. I would have used them if I’d seen them as they give a stronger colour and I was not intending for them to be consumed… I used edible ingredients only as a precaution. Finger-painting and similar activities would more likely result in some making it’s way into the mouth.

  1. Measure 1tbsp of cornflour into a microwaveable pot
  2. Add 1tbsp of water and mix until smooth
  3. Add 3tbsp of boiling water from the kettle, stirring briskly as you add each
  4. Check consistency. If the paint is too runny, put in the microwave for two seconds. Yes, just 2 seconds. remove and stir. Repeat a few times until you have a thick paste. You may be tempted to microwave for five seconds at a time. Really, don’t do that, as you’ll end up with something resembling a hockey puck. Once the mixture has become thick, or if a small lump has formed, stir briskly until smooth. If it is too thick for your purposes, add small amounts of water until your desired consistency is achieved, stirring all the time.
  5. Divide into small pots if needed and add food colouring. I added the whole little tube, but you’ll need less of the more concentrated colours.

Once the paint is ready, make sure it is cool enough to used. It may thicken slightly more on cooling, in which case add a little more water and stir. Obviously this recipe could be scaled up, but I only wanted a little paint for this quick activity.

The next things you need are some bits of card, folded to make greetings cards (or buy them ready-made if you are lazy, like me), a baby, your paint, a sponge and something to put them all on. Yo can buy special little mats for toddler activities, but I decided to but a shower curtain for maximum coverage: we use it for meal times, too, to catch all the bits that the catch-all bibs don’t catch. I bought an Innaren Shower Curtain from Ikea for £1.50 and it is serving us well.

Once you have assembled all of the bits on the mat, including baby (you may want to start that first, as they often take about 9 months to complete), get busy with the sponge, dabbing your concoction all over the cute little foot. I thought Baby Awesome might squirm at this, but instead he sat quietly and just seemed curious as to why i was painting his feet orange.

Now to press the foot onto the card. We tried a few methods for this: baby standing on the card, rolling the foot over the card… but the way that best worked for us and our particular baby, was to hold the foot still and press the card to the food whilst he was sitting down. This provided us with the clearest prints with least smudging.

Once dry, I added a few details with a Sharpie marker, to make the little footprints into goldfish, making eight cute little cards from Baby Awesome’s first craft activity!

FO: Pear Vest

A good couple of weeks ago now I had the foolish idea to indulge in a quick little project to get the creative buzz that I have been struggling to find time for of late. I decided that a small cross stitch motif placed on a plain white baby vest was the perfect little undertaking for an afternoon or two; a quick and easy little thing of joy.

Every time I have the idea to cross stitch (about once every 12-18 months) I fall into this same false sense of security, for whilst cross stitch is easy enough, I never, ever find it ‘quick’. Somehow I allow enough time to pass between little projects for this truth to escape me each time. A week after I started, I finally finished this tiny pear motif.

Yes, his hair does that naturally. I have literally no control over it!

I also managed to buy vests sized for a 2 year old, which I am blaming on tiredness. Baby Awesome actually turns 9 months old today, and is ‘helping’ me type by standing next to the sofa and bashing at the laptop whilst I repeatedly deleted the random characters he is placing in the middle of sentences. As he is so desperate to share a few words, I’m going to pass control to him for a few seconds. Hold on…

drv  v§gfhg ffghc bb   rkkjmo9r4  g hv vuyfht

He’ll make a fantastic blogger one day.

This little project didn’t quite go to plan in either it’s intention or execution (I am pretty certain that the pear is slightly wonky, but then I guess they never sit perfectly straight… ahem…) but it did serve to break my creative dry spell, and I have a new project well underway and gathering speed, promising to deliver far more than a wonky pear.