Soft block toy

This is a little project I threw together in an hour or so. I thought the baby might like having a soft squishy block with different colors and types of fabrics to look at and touch.

Soft block toy

I cut 6″ squares out of various fabrics I had in my stash (including some bright orange fun fur left over from Hairy Larvae) and sewed them together in a cube. I left the last seam open, stuffed it with polyfil, and hand sewed it the rest of the way.

The baby loves it! The colors and textures are really fun to look at and the orange fur gives her something to grab hold of. It’s the perfect size for her to grab with both arms and legs.

Maya loves her soft block toy

Unfortunately the fun fur sheds and sticks to her clammy little mitts. I also didn’t put enough stuffing in, and I don’t like how the hand-sewn seam looks. I think I might partially dissect it, replacing the fun fur with Minky Shaggy Cuddle, which was recommended by someone at Stone Mountain as it’s specifically designed for things like stuffed animals.

Purple knitted teddy bear

Confidence bolstered by the octopus, I decided to go for something a bit more challenging and knit a Vera teddy bear for my future baby. I went to ImagiKnit picked out a beautiful purple yarn from Malabrigo called Rios (872 Purpuras colorway).

This pattern is nuts. It’s also flawless. It has a nonstandard way of communicating what to do, but once you figure it out it’s pretty easy. You just have to carefully follow each step and after a while a bear takes shape. I loved the details like purl stitches to mark where ears, eyes, and nose go (and make it easier to pick up stitches to attach those features).

I have started my Vera bear
Starting the head

Vera bear head is done! Well, minus eyes, ears, and mouth.
Head completed, minus ears, eyes, and nose

Vera bear is looking a little creepy right now...
Mildly creepy stage

Almost there!
Almost there…

Vera bear is done!
Done!

Vera bear is done!

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Now, three months later, posing with baby Maya

Knitted Amigurumi Octopus

Once I finished the sweater, I decided it was time to move on to stuffed animals. “Dandy Sir Cephalopod” seemed like the perfect little toy for a baby: lots of legs to grab, and the right size to hold onto. I left off the “dandy” details (top hat, monocle, and moustache) because they didn’t seem baby appropriate. I used some soft blue yarn leftovers that I got from Alice.

Five little leggies

The legs were a little fiddly to start, but ultimately this guy went together quickly and without issue. Very satisfying project!

Legs are attached to the body! Now I just need to finish up the body, stuff it, and embroider some eyes.
Attaching the legs to the body

Octopus is nearly done! Just needs eyes.

Octopus is nearly done! Just needs eyes.

All done!

She likes the octopus
She likes it!

Rainbow baby sweater

Still couch-ridden in my 9th month of pregnancy, I decided to knit a baby cardigan out of the gorgeous skein of rainbow handspun yarn my aunt Erika made for me.

Gorgeous yarn my aunt Erika spun for me to make things for the baby. I could get lost in it!

The pattern I picked was “In Threes”, by Kelly Herdrich on Ravelry.

Start of a larger project

I’d never knit a sweater before — I’d always lost interest before I got very far — but I had confidence that this one would be different because it was so small and the yarn was so special. Plus I had a very firm deadline and I wasn’t sure when it would arrive! Talk about motivation.

I finished the yoke! Hopefully I have enough yarn for the whole sweater, but I have my doubts...

I ended up finishing the sweater in about a day and a half. (I’m a pretty slow knitter, truth be told.)

I'm not going to have enough rainbow yarn to finish this sweater. Which of these should I finish it with?

Turns out I didn’t have quite enough yarn, so I had to pick another yarn to finish the last few rows with. I ended up choosing the fucshia-purple on the left in the photo above.

Button detail

I finished it off with three mother-of-pearl buttons — it was the only thing I could think of that would truly match the yarn!

All done!

It’s still pretty big on my baby but she’ll grow into it soon. I can’t wait!

Baby booties and mitts

Toward the end of my pregnancy, I really couldn’t do anything other than lie on the couch, so I began knitting obsessively. The first thing I made was a pair of baby booties and mitts. I made them out of the remains of a buttery soft skein of yarn that my aunt Erika had used to knit a gorgeous blanket for my baby: Crystal Palace Mochi Plus in the “Tapestry Rainbow” colorway.

For the booties, I used the “Dreamy Baby Booties” pattern by Veronica Van on Ravelry. I find that they stay on my baby pretty well, especially if I don’t roll down the cuffs.

Baby bootie (WIP)

Baby booties

Baby booties

Baby booties

Modeling the booties I made for her

I used this “Baby Mitts” pattern from Susan B. Anderson on Ravelry for the mitts. They’re pretty cute but honestly I haven’t really used them on our baby because it’s been so warm and my baby doesn’t like her hands being covered.

Today's easy peasy project: teeny baby mitts to finish off the rest of the rainbow yarn.

Cable knit baby hats

One of my first baby projects was a cable knit hat. I used the “Otis” hat pattern from Joy Boath on Ravelry. It’s a nice simple little pattern. If you’ve never knit cables it’s a good one to cut your teeth on.

The first version I knit out of some super soft blue acrylic that I received as a hand me down from a friend who quit knitting.

Cable knit infant hat

I gave this to Jen and Mike for their baby Eris.

For the second version, I modified the pattern a little to make the brim a k3p3 rib instead of straight garter stitch. I used the last bits of a skein of green super soft cotton yarn that Alice gave me. I love the yarn, but it’s pretty heavy so the hat ended up quite large. It’s still too big for my 3 month old, but I suspect it’ll come in useful for those foggy summer San Francisco days.

Cable baby hat

Update: Here’s a picture of my baby, now 4.5 months old, wearing the green hat. It fits her great and is sooooooo cute!


Winter baby bear hat

Another baby sewing project that I completed while I was pregnant was this absurdly cute winter baby bear hat.

The project was a bit frustrating because my sewing machine couldn’t handle the 8,000 layers of fleece that has to be sewn through to attach the ears to the hat. I ended up hand sewing a lot. Also, the hat ended up tiny. I realized too late that the pattern says to add a 1/2″ seam allowance… oops. So the hat barely fit my baby even when she was a newborn. Not that she needed it; this California “winter” we’re having barely dropped below 60 degrees fahrenheit. Grumble. (I shouldn’t complain but the persistent drought and warm weather bode for bad times in my home state.)

BUT ENOUGH DOOM AND GLOOM! The hat turned out ridiculously adorable, and that’s all that really matters. Right?

Baby bear hat

Baby bear hat

Modeling the bear hat I made her

Baby bonnets

When I was pregnant, my friend Ali posted about an adorable baby bonnet she made for her baby. When I inquired as to the pattern, she pointed me to this Purl Bee pattern. It seriously doesn’t get much more precious than that!

I made two, one flannel lined and a little smaller, for my little winter newborn, and another in the 6 month size that’s cotton lined.

For the flannel-lined bonnet, I used some leftovers from my receiving blankets project. I love this fabric. It’s called “Wild Bush Flowers” by Layla Campbell. It took me a while to realize it’s inspired by Australian Aboriginal art!

I made a baby sun bonnet! It's flannel lined for winter.

I made a baby sun bonnet! It's flannel lined for winter.

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She’s 3 months old and it still fits her!

Here’s the other, larger version I made for summer picnics:

Another bonnet

Another bonnet

Science!

More receiving blankets

Well, I guess I haven’t updated in a while… The baby came and I got a little distracted by that!

Fortunately I finished all the receiving/swaddling blankets that I’d set out to make before she arrived. I switched to a bias tape binding method of finishing the edges which I think is much nicer. It’s softer (no more scratchy edges!) and cleaner looking. I used Wright’s double fold quilt bias binding tape, which worked great.

It’s a little tricky to do, but ultimately easier than the mitered corners of the satin binding. First, per Alice‘s suggestion, I used a dinner plate to trace a curve at the corners of the two pieces of fabric. I cut along those curves, and then sewed the fabric together. The bias tape is a little too short for these 42″ squares, so I had to sew two packages worth of tape together (and of course, press them to get rid of the creases that formed in the package). Then I pinned the bias tape binding in place along the edge of the blanket. The pinning process is a little fussy along the curves but it’s worth it!

Sorry I didn’t get any “in process” pics, but here are the final results.

Hazard blanket
Caution tape theme – my husband’s idea

Baby blanket for Lo & Jacy
Elephants for my sister-in-law and her husband’s baby, Jayden

Blanket for Jen & Burstein
Bold patterns for Jen and Mike’s baby, Eris

Ok, ok, I can’t have an “I had a baby!” post without at least one picture of the little nugget. Here’s our little Miss Maya at two days old.

Ed and I made a tiny human! Welcome to the world, Maya Ember

Burp cloths and receiving blankets

I was inspired by my friends Alice and Tom‘s hand made burp cloths and receiving blankets, so I spent a Saturday afternoon at Stone Mountain (one of the best fabric stores EVAR) with Alice picking out some fun fabrics. It was a tough choice – they have so many amazing, fun, colorful prints! I ended up with a nice little pile of fabric.

I followed Alice’s simple advice for making the burp cloths. They are 9″ by half the width of the fabric (roughly 20″), flannel on one side, terry cloth on the other. Sew together wrong sides facing, turn inside out, and sew along the edges. Easy as pie! All told this took about 1/4 yard of flannel and the same amount of terry for 2 burp cloths.

My first one came out nicely.

So I pushed ahead and made the rest.

The receiving (or swaddling) blankets are equally easy. Again, I followed Alice’s advice. Each blanket is a square of whatever the width of the fabric is – usually 42″. Flannel on one side, quilting cotton on the other. Wrong sides together, sew together edges, then add blanket binding and miter the corners (there are a million tutorials on the internet, I just kind of winged it). I used Wright’s satin binding but I’m not 100% in love with it because the edges are kind of scratchy. I’m going to try rounding the corners and using cotton bias binding next. These used 1 1/4 yard each of flannel and quilting fabric, plus the binding. A single package of satin binding — 4.75 yards — is just the right amount for this project.

The first blanket came out surprisingly goth. It’s amazing what black satin can do for a project. My husband, who rarely wears anything but black, really likes this one.

The second blanket is decidedly less goth. I wanted bright, bold, contrasty colors that will keep a baby’s interest.

More to come! So far I’ve only made the two blankets, but I’ve got several more in the pipeline. A few are gifts (babies everywhere!) so I won’t post them here until I’ve given them to their intended recipients. 🙂