I’ve been making but …

I’ve been making but not taking photos or blogging about things. Since posting about the Puerperium a month ago I have finished my Fiona Coat, knitted a baby blanket, re-knitted the sleeves of my Mama Vertebrae to narrow and lengthen them, sewn a dress (same as this one but in navy with blue stars), sewn a Sewaholic Granville shirt in a floral patterned poplin, sewn a pair of jeans (like these but with a higher back rise on the yoke), sewn three nursing tops, sewn a project bag and two gathered clutches to use as presents later in the year (Noodle head pattern, see photos below).

Some of these sewing projects are leftovers from my pile of cutting out I did last summer – I’ve finally reached the end of those. Next up is sewing a messenger bag. Knitting wise I have a second baby blanket on the needles, I’m just coming to the end of the third of ten balls. That’s the last of the knitting I’m trying to get done for baby so when it’s finished I’ll be casting on something just out of my stash just for fun. I didn’t manage to make it to Edinburgh Yarn Festival this year – I’m not currently up for that much walking or standing around but I still have some lovely stuff from last year that hasn’t been knit due to baby knitting and taking a big break from much crafting last year (also due to baby).

Gathered clutch by Noodle-head - little grey hedgehog

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FO: Puerperium Cardigan

While baby number 3 is going to have plenty of handknit handmedowns I want it to have a few of it’s own too. This is sweater number two and there are now plenty of hats. Next up it needs baby blankets of it’s own (the big kids are still using theirs).

I’ve knit Puerperium twice before but this is the first time I’ve knitted sleeves. It’s also the first time I’ve modified the pattern to work in the around after the yoke. I found I never wanted to be dealing with undoing and redoing all the buttons so have decided to just skip them. I joined in the round by overlapping and knitting together the four stitches that form each buttonband. I used just under 100g of dk yarn (Cascade 220 superwash) in a brownish colourway (1917). I had the little heart buttons in my button jar and they are just the right size.

Puerperium Cardigan by Kelly van Niekerk in Cascade 220 Superwash - little grey hedgehog

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All the cake

The first week of February is cake week in our house. Both the kids birthdays are this week and they each have their own opinions on cake. It makes for quite a lot of cake. Half of the Wee Man’s ended up in the freezer as we hadn’t got through it before I made Hobbity-boo’s cake for her party on Saturday. Luckily half of that one went home with party guests so we are not completely overwhelmed with cake.

Both cakes have a chocolate base – I’ve used this recipe several times before and although it takes much longer to bake than the recipe says it comes out lovely and moist. The recipe is from Edmonds Cookbook (mine is the edition printed in 1999). They are coated with chocolate buttercream before fondant.

Wee Man asked for an orange tractor cake. He is obsessed with trucks and things at the moment. I used this tutorial as inspiration and started with a square cake. There are parts where the fondant is a bit thin (I was worried about running out of black) but the kids agreed that it looked like a tractor. The back wheels are donuts and the front small circles of cake.

Orange tractor cake for a little boy turning 3 - little grey hedgehog

For the third year in a row Hobbity-boo has asked for a ladybird cake (though she tells me that next year she wants a rainbow). This year it is purple and black and we used a number of different cutters to make leaves and flowers for around the base (added advantage of hiding any wobbly bits). The antenna are fondant wrapped around cut down straws. I’m happier with the fondant on this, I had plenty so wasn’t trying to spread it so thin.

Ladybird for a 5 year old - little grey hedgehog

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Aviatrixes

Baby hats! I’ve been indulging in make some quick on and off the needle baby hats in between working on my tunic length fingering weight cardigan. I’ve finished 3 Aviatrix hats recently plus I made another Quynn (the same as the last but the smallest size). All three are Drops Karisma which is a DK weight yarn. The brown and blue are both the smallest size (one of these is going to be a gift for sure) and the purple is the second size. I’ve made this hat before, both the older two wore them a lot.

The hat is made in sections of short rows with earflaps added at the end with a strap. They stay on really well and the fabric is super stretchy so they fit for a long time.

Aviatrix hat by Justine Turner in Drops Karisma - little grey hedgehog

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A quilt and a nursery space

I finished the quilt I mentioned in my last post. It didn’t take much time to machine quilt and I was enthusiastic about finishing it so didn’t dawdle to much over hand-stitching the binding down. This quilt is nominally for baby but it’s intended purpose is to keep me warm when I’m up with the baby at night. I used a twin size wadding and pieced the top to match. I had to piece a strip of back with the leftover patterned fabrics as there was a bit less width than I’d hoped. I quilted around each of the rectangles on the front, it’s 4 by 11 rectangles with same size sashing between. I used 12 fat quarters and I think 3m of 96″ cream for the sashing, backing and binding. There are 3 different hot air balloon colourways and similarly 3 different ‘farm’ colourways. Farm is in quotes becasue there are actually giraffes amongst the hens, cows, and butterflies. Apologies for the not great photos.

Quilt for a nursery - little grey hedgehog

Baby won’t have it’s own room to start with and so we’ve been converting our dressing room (which is off the master bedroom) into a nursery space. I think what makes it a dressing room rather than a walk in wardrobe is that it has it’s own window. Originally it had a built in wardrobe down one side plus storage under the eaves. The window had no coverings nor a windowsill. Removing the fitted wardrobe was simply a matter of a dozen screws and then it came to tidying up the walls and sorting out the carpet and window.

The holes were plastered and I gave the whole space a couple of coats of off-white paint (colourway was contemporary), this included doing the ceiling. Once that was done I cut and fitted a windowsill and roman blind (blackout for obvious reasons). Ideally we would have ripped out the carpet, installed skirtings and installed new carpet but it didn’t seem worth it when the patch was going to be hidden by furniture. One day we’ll probably make this into a study space and do the floors then. For now we added underlay and used some carpet tiles to level out the floor under the cot. There’s just enough room for an armless armchair (also known as an occasional, bedroom or dressing table chair) as I don’t like nursing in bed. From the doorway it’s about two steps to my side of our bed. Behind the door and under the eaves there’s room for a small set of drawers and the changing table (not that we’ve ever changed a baby on the table we normally use the mat on the floor). This space still needs a bit or sorting out and I’m still deciding if I want to put anything on the walls but it’s ready enough given that baby’s not expected for three months.

Nursery space before and after - little grey hedgehog

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Planning and list making

I haven’t a list of goals for the year but I have been sorting out my planner and making some lists.

In February last year I gave up on using Evernote to keep my lists so that I could get back to using paper and crossing things out. I still wanted to keep everything together but also wanted to be able to rearrange things and remove bits I didn’t need anymore. I decided a ring bound planner was the best thing to start with. I bought a Collins Balmoral in the ‘personal’ size intending to rearrange the contents to suit me. I ended up getting rid of almost everything included with the planner and making my own monthly and weekly inserts. I’ve also got a lot of essentially blank pages that I use for other lists.

I looked at inserts available online but didn’t find anything that suited and have ended up using Scribus to create my own. Mostly my week starts on a Saturday and I wanted all the days on one page with space for notes, meal planning and cleaning on the opposing page. My months also start on Saturday and have a place down one side to make a list of things I intend to get down that month – often this list winds up being a bit ambitious.

I made my own dividing tabs to split up sections and had fun decorating them with stickers and washi tape. I’ve consistently used the planner over the last year with a few gaps but because my weeks are not labelled with dates I can just move straight on to a list for the next week without wasting any pages. I can also remove pages after they are used which helps keep the bulk down. One of the pages in the planner is a craft in 2017 list. It’s about half the size of last years list but does include a number of things that I didn’t get to in 2016. Most of this are things I already have supplies for but there are a couple of sewing and a couple of knitting projects that will require purchases. Maybe at EYF2017?

Divider tabs - little grey hedgehog

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Fishmas sent 2016

It’s fish themed swap time of the year again. This is the third year I’ve participated and amongst various foodstuffs and knick-knacks I’ve crafted three things for my swapee this year. She indicated that she’d rather have a handknit than yarn so I knitted up a Star-Crossed Slouchy Beret. Knitted in aran weight yarn on 8mm needles it doesn’t take long at all despite the cable rows. I made myself one earlier this year out of Old Maiden Aunt. This one was knitted in West Yorkshire Spinners Jacob Aran in Ecru purchased from Wee County Yarns who have recently become a stockist. I had the perfect amount of yarn with just a teeny bit leftover.

I also made a fishy themed project bag, it’s big enough for around 200g of yarn so good for smaller projects. The outer fabric is linen and the inside a red quilting cotton to match the red zip. I didn’t interface the fabric this time as the linen is quite substantial and you can see in the photo that it is standing on it’s own anyway. It has a fishy tag on the zip but I decided against fishy stitch markers this year and have used some millefiori beads instead.

Fishmas 2016, star crossed slouchy beret, project bag and stitch markers

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