Third time lucky?

This is the third cardigan I’ve knitted for my friend’s baby girl: Willow. She was born at the beginning of November last year. My first two cardigans came out too small.

First there was this one, which I started in June and finished in October, thinking I was being organised. Since it came up too small, I gave it to another friend who had a baby in November.

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Then there was this one, which, again, was going to be too small for little Willow. I started this in October and finished it in December. I kept this one for myself, as I was convinced I was having a baby boy. I didn’t, I had a girl, who did wear it once.

So, on New Year’s Eve, I started baby cardigan no.3. I was even knitting away waiting for my contractions to start when my waters had broken. Nearly four months on, I’ve finally finished it. And, I’m pleased to say it’s too big for my little model, who is a couple of months younger and several pounds lighter than her little friend Willow. So, I’m hopeful it’s third time lucky.

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Now it’s all wrapped up ready to go to its new home. I even used my new baker’s twine.

Fingers crossed it fits!

Five little ducks …

… went swimming one day … onto a cardigan front. I’ve finished the garter stitch cardigan! Cue fanfare …

My fears about the joining together of pieces, weaving in of ends and sewing together of the sleeves and sides were unfounded.  

Next up, the pattern suggested adding a crochet edge, buttons and buttonholes. It’s been a while since I crocheted, so it was lucky that I had my weekly lunchtime pub craft date with ThePolkaDotGiraffe. I was soon on my way.  

This cardigan is intended for a friend’s baby. She is due next week. So, for regular readers, something amazing has happened – I’ve finished something ahead of schedule! She doesn’t know if she’s having a boy or girl, so I needed to choose some unisex buttons. I was going to go for yellow ducks, but then I stumbled across some teal ducks in John Lewis and had to buy them. Anyone who knows me, knows my love of the colour teal. My mother in law calls it ‘Kate’s colour’. So, buttons purchased in ‘my’ colour, I finished the cardigan last night.  

I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out. It’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve found the pattern (Garter Stitch Cardigan from Lullaby Knits) challenging. I started knitting this in June and have taken several breaks from it, and almost thrown in the towel. I’m glad I persevered and confronted my fear of knitting things that need sewing together.  I may even make another for a friend who is expecting a baby next month. 

From a success to a failure. A colleague recently offered up cooking apples from her garden, and I ended up with a bag of 20 apples. Having made two of my trusty Dorset Apple traybakes (which always go down a treat in the office), I was on the hunt for other apple-based recipes. Apple rose cupcakes were suggested to me, I think these are a bit of a trendy bake at the moment. These are a puff pastry dessert in which very thin slices of apple are rolled to make a rose effect. I made two errors: my puff pastry was too thick and my apple slices weren’t thin enough. They didn’t look too bad before going in the oven.

  
After baking.   

Generously dusted with icing sugar.  

Unfortunately, despite a second stint in the oven, the pastry was still raw in the middle. And the apples were burnt on top. They had to be binned 😢

You win some. You lose some. 

To end on a happier note, the birthday card I made to appear on children’s TV for my son’s birthday made the cut! His card featured on CBeebies today. Whilst my now 2-yr-old was somewhat ambivalent to this momentous occasion, I was beside myself with excitement.  

That’s all from me for now. Do you have a recent success or failure you’d care to share?

Knit, knit, slow

It’s slow progress on the knitting front. I started knitting a baby cardigan back in June. I’m undecided yet as to whether it’s for a friend’s baby due in October or another one due in November. Depends how big the October baby is as it’s coming up pretty small …

I got off to a frustrating start when I couldn’t work out how to ‘continue knitting in pattern’. Having put out a cry for help on my local craft group’s Facebook page, I was soon on my way again and finished the back of the cardigan.   

And then knitting got put firmly on the back burner while I was making all things wedding-related for my friend’s wedding.

Now, I’m back on it, I ran into problems again when knitting up the fronts of the cardigan. It was the knitting in pattern again that I struggled with. Even more so the fact that ‘stitches made and lost in the pattern are not included in the stitch count after row 12’. Kept getting my sums wrong and having to unpick and start again. But, I worked it out in the end, and the left front of the cardigan took much less time than the right.   

Today, I’ve started on the sleeves during my weekly Wednesday pubcraft trip with my friend ThePolkaDotGiraffe. We’ve recently changed our choice of pub and the past two weeks people have commented on us knitting in the pub, but not today. Maybe they’re getting used to the sight of two women in their 30s knitting/crocheting over a Coke and some pickled onion Monster Munch 😀

Meanwhile, I’ve also been busy making a birthday card for my little man’s upcoming 2nd birthday. It’s now been sent off to CBeebies (a children’s TV station for non-UK readers) to arrive well within their required deadline (at least a month before the child’s birthday). Only half the cards that get sent in get shown on air, so I don’t rate my chances. Last year, I submitted the card less than a month before his birthday and it didn’t make the cut. That was a much better card too in terms of the efforts that went into it.  😫 This year, I’ve gone down the easy cheat’s route of buying a magazine and cutting out pictures of his characters, rather than creating them myself, as I did last year. Lazy Mummy. However, I did include a door, behind which there is a photo of the man himself. They love a photo hiding behind a flap on CBeebies, so fingers crossed it makes it on TV! I gave Little Man a sneaky peak before it went in the post as the cards don’t get returned. 

  
 
Oh, and I also made some Peppa Pig-themed fairy cakes for a 2nd birthday party last weekend. I’ve saved 12 cake toppers as I have quite a few nieces and nephews who are Peppa Pig fans.   

That’s all from me for now, time to watch The Great British Bake Off and carry on with my knitting …

Confessions of a novice knitter

I’ve knitted a fair few items over the years: baby blankets, baby hats and booties.  

But, I have a confession: Never before have I knitted a tension square. The closest I’ve got is getting started and taking a tape measure to my casting on, thinking ‘that’s OK’ and carrying on. Shame on me.

I’m currently holidaying in South Devon (next week, Cornwall!) with my family and I thought I’d take some knitting with me to do. It’s been a good 18 months since I last knitted something and one of my goals for this year was to get back into knitting. I have a few friends expecting babies in the autumn/winter, and there’s nothing like babies to get me knitting. I chose a couple of patterns from Lullaby Knits and quickly rifled through my Nan’s knitting needles (passed on to me now she can’t knit anymore) to get the right size needles. Her knitting bag is a real treasure trove and it’s lovely to be able to carry on the knitting for her.  

So, back to tension squares. I thought I’d attempt one this time. I duly consulted the pattern: ’18 stitches and 36 rows to 10cm over garter stitch patt using 4mm needles’. So, I cast on 18 stitches and started knitting. Next confession: I didn’t know you should knit more stitches and rows than the tension square requires! Fortunately, I Googled tension squares and soon realised the error of my ways. I added more stitches and knitted more rows, then cast off. 

It didn’t measure up quite right. Last confession: I didn’t know you should block tension squares. Google came up trumps again and saved the day. I’ve duly blocked my square using a steam iron. 

And, I’m pleased to report, having marked out the no of stitches and rows using pins, it measures 10cm/4″ square.   

Now, I’m ready to start knitting!