Category Archives: baby

Sing A Rainbow

Here are a few pictures of a recent(ish) jumper that I knit for Baby Awesome. It has everything I could want in a baby jumper: Squishiness, rainbows, and a smiley miniature person wearing it.

These photos were actually taken all the way back into September. I’d actually been sitting on them a little while as I did think about writing up and releasing this as a pattern, but I don’t know if the practicalities would be worth it. The sweater came about as I had bought the yarn to make a rainbow yoked cardigan that I had seen one grey day. Foolishly I did not read into the details far enough as though it was a raglan shaped cardigan, each of the two front pieces, back and two sleeves were knit separately. Each of the pieces carried each of the six rainbow colours and the base colour, so:

7 colours x 2 ends x 5 pieces = 70 ends, plus the need to seam up all those raglan shapings, lining up the different colours, in garter stitch. Ha ha ha ha no. It’s not that it would be difficult, but then reading the phone directory isn’t difficult. Deciding that I didn’t need something so soul-destroying in my life I instead decided to design a sweater, with a good sized and styled neck for adorable giant toddler heads, still using raglan shapings but (crucially) knit in a single piece. Seven colours, two ends each. Easy peasy. Actually, I then added a rainbow garter cuff to each sleeve to give myself an additional; 24 ends because I secretly hate myself, oh, and the garter border at the hem, but these were both completely optional, and at least added to the goodness to brilliance awesome rainbowy-ness of it. Frankly, we need more rainbows, and I sewed those ends in for the good of us all. If I had stuck solely to the rainbow yoke (as the pattern I had first intended to knit) then I would have taken the sweater from 70 to 14 ends, saving 80% of end weaving and eliminating all the seaming, and that was good enough for me.

Since finishing the sweater I have started on an accompanying blanket with the remaining yarn, and my erstwhile friend Mr Crochet Hook has come to visit. I don’t crochet very often (because my wrist clicks so much that it sounds like someone has lost a very confused tap dancer in the vicinity), but for a quick and satisfying way to whizz through your embarrassingly large quantity of leftover yarn, it’s perfect.

Once the blanket is complete I will get a picture of both the sweater and crocheted throw together, and bring more rainbows into the world.

WIP: Another Month, Another Tank Top

Autumn is with us here in the UK, and leaves have started to turn to gold and lay fallen at the foot of trees. For the first time in many months there is a slight chill in the breeze that makes you want to pull your collar up ever so slightly, and consider the drawer full of hats and light scarves just before leaving the house. T-shirt weather has ended for the year, and an extra layer of warmth is a kind comfort.

When full bulky sweaters are perhaps a bit too warming for the middle seasons, a sweater vest, or tank top here in the UK, is a perfect Autumn and spring alternative. After finishing the striped tank top a couple of weeks ago, I have cast on a second experimental knit for Baby Awesome, something to pull on over a shirt or jersey top, just to keep the chest snug and warm the heart with a knitted cuddle.
I’ve used a variegated yarn in candy colours Regia 4-fädig Color in shade 5025 (Papillon), alongside a pale beige shade of Drops Baby Merino. Though the yarns are slightly different in construction and handle, the stitch I am using for the main body of the tank top gives enough bounce to make the two yarns work perfectly together.
The stitch I am using for this tan top works up slowly, but the effect is worth the knitting, and I hope that the finished sweater will be worth it when it is finished. Though I am using the showcase stitch for the main chest and back areas, the upper chest and shoulder areas are being worked in a squishy and sumptuous garter rib, matching that of the bottom cast-on edge.
Now that Baby Awesome has reached a year of age (a whole year of Baby Awesome being in the world has now occurred and this happy and emotional mummy can hardly believe it!) there is likely to be a bit of a slow down in his growth rate, and with any luck the things that I knit for him now may even still fit him in the spring, so this tank top may be useful for two seasons.
I’ve also been sidetracked from this current project with a bright and cheery little birthday knitting project which I hope to share soon. To further prove just how industrious I am being I also have two crochet projects on the go. It’s amazing what can happen when your baby quickly goes from waking 5-8 times a night to sleeping a 12-13 hour stretch (It’s been five weeks of good sleep, and I still don’t think I have caught up on the preceding couple of months, but I’m certainly getting there.

Enjoy any projects you have underway as the seasons change, whether you are moving into autumn or spring!

FO: Rainbow Baby Tank Top

After finishing Mr Awesome’s Socks a few weeks ago using Regia’s Pairfect yarn, I had written about my intention to use the same line of yarn in a non-sock project. The yarn is specifically designed for use in sock knitting, made to produce two perfectly paired socks, however I hoped to manipulate the single 100g skein to combine lengths of matching colour usually given across two socks to give longer stretches of colour over the larger circumference of (in this case) a tank top for a (very soon) one year old.
I knit this tank top freehand, working to Baby Awesome’s measurements as I went. After almost completing the project I decided that the length I had taken for the knit was perhaps a bit shorter than would have been ideal, so I adapted the bottom-up knit to lengthen the sleeve holes and shoulders, adding the press stud closures in case I needed to add further length to the sleeveless sweater.

As it happens, the length was fine, but the slightly deeper arm holes did drop the neckline to a very nice depth, so it all worked out well in the end.

When knitting the main part of the tank top I had to use two lengths of yarn to create each different coloured stripe, meaning that 18 lengths of yarn were used to knit the tank top before any edges were picked up and the ribbing knit. I decided to cheat a little and use a Russian join so that my evenings were not taken up doing nothing but weaving in ends. I like to do what I call a cheat’s Russian join, which negates the use of a darning needle (use of which is too close to weaving in ends to make much difference to me). As I had been asked about my technique for weaving in ends I posted the following quick explanation on my Instagram and Twitter account, so I have added it here for posterity:

Cheat’s Russian Join:
1:  loop old and new yarns (here two colours) as if they were linking arms. If ending at a particular point work out how much yarn it will take to knit to that point and create link there (I am changing colour at the marker and know roughly how much yarn it will take me to knit the six stitches to that point. It becomes very simple to judge after you’ve done it once or twice).
2:  knit with the doubled length of your current colour, up until the link (which I’ve chosen to be six stitches, ending at the marker).
3:  Slip marker and begin with new colour/yarn, again doubled at the link point.
4:  Knit with doubled yarn for six stitches, then drop short end and continue as normal. Both ends are worked in for six stitches either side of join.

The press stud closures are the standard type found on many baby clothes, but as these can be damaging to yarn the knitting is protected at the back by a very small amount of cotton jersey fabric, trimmed tight to the closure after application.

Though it would be great at this point to share a wonderfully modelled picture of the tank top, Baby Awesome is due to turn one next week, and he is full of fun, opinions, and most importantly baby wiggles. There is no picture where he is not scooting or crawling past the camera at such speed that he is basically a rainbow blur, so the only photo I have managed to catch is by laying him down, and even then he is such a little wriggly thing that the knitting ended up all bunched behind him. You’ll just have to imagine that it is neat and not covered in porridge by this point.

May you find happiness in your yarn. I’m off to try to finish baby Awesome’s next knitted gift, as I’d like to have it ready for his first birthday next week!

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.