In Search of Inspiration for Baby Projects

I have a printed copy of an internet meme hanging on my whiteboard above my desk at work, and another copy stuck to my fridge at home. On days when I’m struggling with procrastination, or mornings when I’m feeling sluggish and uninspired, it gives me a boost. What is this magical motivational poster, you ask? Well, it looks like this:



Now you know what gets me moving. It came from the internet. The fact that the shark hat is crocheted makes it even better, because I know that someone out there took the time to make a shark hat for their kitty (or sure, for a baby, but let’s be honest, cats in hats are pretty amazing).

This weekend, I definitely felt like a powerful Great White Shark — I finally finished repairing Brooks’ dad’s sweater! I wound in the final ends, checked everything over, and packaged it up. Success! An item checked off the knit list! Fellow crafters, you know the satisfaction I felt when I officially declared it done. Is there any better feeling?

Now I get to cast on my capelet figure out what to make for a baby that is due in early September. I want it to be something fun but also practical, because this is a Maine baby. With that in mind, this is one of the potential items:


© Pam Allen


Is this not one of the cutest things you’ve ever seen? Possibly even cuter than a cat wearing a shark hat? This is the Baby Duck Booties pattern from Quince & Co., and it makes me want to just squeal with delight. The toddler size (which I would have to make, because I knit slowly and babies grow so quickly) uses Chickadee, a sport weight yarn. I think I’d change up the color of the sole, because white would get dirty really quickly, but we’ve got plenty of colors to choose from in the store. I have also pondered trying to size this up to make a cozy pair of slippers for myself, perhaps using plushy, aran weight Osprey. (Non-slip paint or a suede sole would be a necessary safety feature.)





© Espace Tricot

I’ve also considered a blanket for the heirloom factor, and because the sizing is less crucial (ditto for the gauge — score!). But there are so. many. baby blankets out there. Ravelry offered me 168 PAGES of knitted blanket patterns when I searched. After enjoying working on the ZickZack Scarf, I’m tempted to tackle the Chevron Baby Blanket by Espace Tricot, though probably in Berroco Vintage instead of cotton, because this is a fall/winter baby. However, if I continue procrastinating on this project, I may end up needing to choose Softcotton Chunky for a quick knit summer blankie!





Of course, there’s always the sweater option. I think I’ve already mentioned that I love designs by Tin Can Knits, and they don’t make it easy to choose. I’m torn between two patterns: Old Growth and Goldfish. Which one do you prefer?


© Tin Can Knits


This is Old Growth, and I love the off-center buttons and fun tree motif. It’s classic, elegant, and seamless!








© Tin Can Knits


And this is Goldfish — adorable, fun, quirky, and also seamless. With a slightly tonal yarn for the main color… this could be the one.








What do you think, readers? Booties, blanket, or sweater? What’s your go-to item to knit when someone is expecting? As soon as I have a pattern, I’ve got to channel my inner shark and attack the project!





More Fuel for the Fire

You can’t get any more ideas for big projects,” I said.

Learn the skill, but stop there,” I said.

You don’t even have the space to nuno felt at home,” I said. (That’s a lie, though, I totally do. Shh don’t tell brain.)

You would think that by now I would know that my brain cannot be trusted when it comes to the possibilities of new projects. Yesterday I was fortunate enough to participate in our nuno felting class, and despite the frustrating wind trying to carry my scarf away as I worked it was very fun! So fun in fact that — almost on cue — my creativity has been throwing out ideas  for more than just scarves left and right since the class ended. Unfortunately I already have so many different art projects going on — knitting, crocheting, dyeing, sewing, embroidery, needle felting, illustration, comics, painting, leather work, sculpting, etc. —  that it can be a little overwhelming. Ok, a lot overwhelming.

Perhaps in a few days it will settle down, but don’t be surprised if you come in to the store one day and find that I look like a plant.


  © Nolwen



Cozy Sweaters and Sentimental Moods


Above, Clockwise: The Harvey Pullover & the Rodin Cardigan from Interweave Knits Fall 2016, the Sullivan Street Cardigan from Swans Island Co., the Diné Cardigan from Berroco, and the El Greco Pullover from Interweave Knits Fall 2016, .

My friends, this is a blog post about sweaters. Sweaters come in endless varieties, suitable for endless moods, personalities, seasons, and eras. They keep us preoccupied as knitters, and enrich our lives and those of the lucky recipients of our hand-made gifts. Completing a sweater is a major accomplishment, and wearing a hand-made sweater is cause for pride and celebration. But sweaters may also inspire quiet reflection.

It’s still warm outside in Maine, but as knitters we have to think ahead, and we have good reason to favor the cooler months. Lately I’ve been thinking of cozy sweaters in autumn hues. This season’s issue of Interweave Knits, which I’ve been gazing at daily on our front counter in the shop, is full of them. The soft neutral-toned cover is dreamy and suggestive of all the best warm and fuzzy things that I associate with knitting: soft fabrics that comfort like a hug, autumn leaves, a cup of tea, peace and contentment, time to sit and think. The photo styling reminds me that knitting is a luxury and a meditation. Wearing a cozy sweater, or better yet– knitting one, makes me feel awash with gratitude for the comforts my life affords me. It puts me at ease. It’s an opportunity to be relished. Even after awaiting the summer so eagerly, I find myself looking forward to fall. Everyone should have a cozy sweater.

What makes a sweater particularly cozy, though? There are some common themes: a little oversized rather than fitted, a somewhat heavy yarn in a soft fiber that feels good right against the skin, traditional shapes and textures with nostalgic suggestions, muted colors. But it’s up to you, of course. It might also be the stories that you knit into your work, or whatever style makes you feel good about yourself.

Above, see a few of my latest favorite autumn-themed cozy sweaters for women. Below, a few of my favorites for men and children.

Below, Clockwise: The Alec Pullover & the Daron Cardigan from Berroco, the Bear Lake Pullover from Interweave Knits Fall 2016, the Grove Pullover by Kate Oates, the Ana Sweater & the Wist Cardigan from Berroco.