a warm, snuggly cloud

What better way to end 2015 than with a wonderful new beginning – my very best friend has just had her second little boy, and right on time for me to be home in Croatia and say hello to him before I head back to Belgium. We are all over the moon.

Of course, as with her first one, I couldn’t let this pass me by without making something extra special for the little one, to keep him snuggled up in warmth and love. But this time around, a set of circumstances resulted in a situation where a knitted blanket was simply not possible… Luckily, I’ve acquired some new skills in the meantime, and so I still had a trick up my sleeve: sewing!

I came across the Lua Sleep Sack pattern by total chance, just as I was mulling over what on earth I could make for the new baby fast enough to be ready for him when he comes out. It was mentioned on a blog I read ocasionally, and which normally does not feature baby patterns, it was available for purchase and printing online, and later it even turned out that the pattern author was Belgian! Some things are just meant to be. I wasted no time in buying and printing it, and then I plunged right in.

I informed two of my friends who are most experienced with sewing that I would need their help when things got tricky, and they were on stand-by with their phones. It turns out that was not necessary at all! This pattern is so well written and presented (StraightGrain used 40(!) testers) that you simply cannot go wrong. The instructions are so clever that they even warn you to double-check whether you have lined everything up correctly at those exact spots where you might be tempted to rush ahead and regret it later. I would highly recommend it to anyone, regardless of their skill level. The pattern pieces themselves are fairly simple, but sewing 6 layers of fabric together at certain points can be quite tricky (think main fabric+batting+lining x 2 for front and back of the sack). However, the author guides you through all the tricky spots, and every question that may pop up in your mind is answered. I had the whole thing printed, cut, and sewn together in one weekend. And I am really, really slow at sewing.

As for the materials, I found a lovely fabric in a local craft shop, and now that I did some internet research on it, I’m thrilled to see it actually turns out to be organic cotton! It’s a Cloud9 design, called Nimbus Navy. I looooove the design and I’ll definitely be looking into this company more for my fabrics. I also used a 100% wool batting, because it was recommended by the pattern and by the shop assistant, and also, well, because I’m a knitter and I don’t actually need anyone to convince me about the merits of wool over synthetics.

In conclusion, I am super happy with how this turned out and I hope it will serve little Toni in good stead. And in addition, it really whetted my appetite for sewing too – I want to make dozens of these now! Bring on the babies, 2016!

lost in blue

A look at my recent blog posts seems to show a slight obsession with the colour blue lately… I hadn’t even realised it until I started blogging again! But it certainly cannot be denied. I think one of the reasons must be this amazing colourway of Cascade 220 Heathers, which is officially called ‘Mallard’ though I nicknamed it ‘Midnight’ for myself (the colourway number is 2448, if you’re interested).

Yes, this is the same yarn as in my post from last week. I had bought a large quantity for an adult male sweater that I was planning, but those plans didn’t work out so I decided to play around with it for other smaller projects. So far I’ve done 2 toddler sweaters in it, and you’ll be seeing more of it in the future as well (I already have a hat planned out).

Cascade 220 Heathers embodies all my favourite yarn qualities: 100% wool without being too scratchy, worsted weight which gives beautiful gauge with my favourite 4.5mm needles, not too expensive yet very durable, comes in 100g hanks meaning that 1  ball of yarn can often last you through a whole project. And the colours, oh the colours. Heathered must be my favourite new word, an ever so slightly tweedy look which gives the perfect amount of depth and interest to a solid colour without any risk of pooling. Can you tell I’m in love?

What’s your favourite yarn? :)

Pattern: Odette Hoodie by Carrie Bostick Hoge

the trouble with sizing

Did you know that there are virtually no sweater patterns for the age of 3? I discovered this curious fact earlier this year, when trying to find a pattern for a friend’s toddler. As I frequently bemoan, I am fairly far away from the majority of the people I knit for, which means that, more often than not, I have to rely on standard sizing for my garments and hope for the best. So imagine my surprise when I realised, while perusing toddler patterns on ravelry, that I couldn’t find a single one which even listed a size for the age I needed! In fact, a typical sizing scale goes something like this: 6 months – 12 months – 18 months – 2 – 4 – 6 – 8 – 10 – 12 years. You may notice that odd numbers of years are conspicuously absent!

Turns out there are reasons for this: from what I could gather from the experts (i.e. parents and pattern designers), children either don’t grow too much between certain ages or their growth is so unpredictable so as to make standardised sizing impossible. You are advised to assess their size and see which of the measurements fit them better, the one for the age above or below them. As this was impossible for me (did I mention I also like to produce my knits as a surprise to the recipients?), I resorted to some other techniques.

In fact, I did a little bit of investigating. I compared the numbers for sizes 2 and 4 of my pattern, and it turned out that they differed only in the length of the body! Everything else was exactly the same for both sizes. Turns out kids don’t change much between ages 2 and 4 either! So, following this, I decided to knit the size 2 with 1 extra inch of length in the sleeves and body (i.e. length somewhere in between sizes 2 and 4).

The result? When the kid tried it on, he definitely had “room to grow”, to put it diplomatically. :) But he wasn’t swimming in it so much to make it unusable, and it will definitely fit him for a couple of years, so I’m calling it a win. :)

Pattern: Weekend Pullover by Andrea Sanchez (The design is like a child Cobblestone, which I love. The pattern is flawless.)

Yarn: Cascade 220® Heathers in colourway 2448 (This may be my all-time favourite yarn.)

baby gift set: milo and the simple baby hat

Speaking of simple baby stuff and good old patterns, here are two patterns I keep going back to when I’m in need of gifts for new parents. (Excuse the terrible photos, these are really quite lovely in real life.)

I tend to knit Milo and Simple Baby Hat as a baby gift set. I’ve done three pairs so far and I have no intention of stopping any time soon. They both call for more or less the same yarn and gauge, and are equally simple to make. Moreover, they can serve as wonderful blank canvases to experiment with whatever you want – embroidery, colourwork, striping…

Finally, they are both extremely quick to make, and parents tell me they’re super practical. So, if you need a win-win solution for the next baby shower you’re invited to with a few days’ notice, I’d highly recommend these two!

finished object: little thorpe

This knit started in a fairly standard way: my friend’s 2-year-old son needed a good hat that would stay on. After combing through dozens of children’s hat patterns I went back to good old Thorpe – it is such a great shape for keeping warm and its top-down construction means it’s also very easy to modify the size.

However, I came to learn quickly that it is very difficult to imagine what a good size for a 2-year-old head is if you don’t have any 2-year-old heads nearby. I ploughed on through the pattern eyeballing the size, with the help of my mom, An Experienced Award-Winning Three-Time-Mother and Two-Time-Grandma. You’d think she’d know. We were quite happy with the outcome up until I tried to put it on my own head and found it to be too big even for me.


Luckily this hat has a top-down construction (you start from the crown of the head), so if you need to make it smaller, you just have to rip back a few increases, until you get to a more appropriate number of stitches and then re-do the rest. The most fiddly part anyway is the cast-on and increasing, so with that out of the way ripping and re-knitting is a breeze. The second version I knit ended up fitting the boy like a glove. I really cannot recommend the Thorpe pattern enough if you are aiming to make a hat with a perfect fit (especially if you have the recipient’s head nearby for trials)…


Stay tuned, folks, this issue of babies/kids and sizing is going to become a recurrent theme on this blog, let me tell you…

simple baby stuff

As I’ve struggled with my RSI, my knitting has been very on and off. With the emphasis on the off. But every once in a while I’d get hopeful again and give it a try. And in the process I discovered the key to not getting frustrated: simple baby stuff.

Simple baby stuff is usually knit in a smooth yarn so as to avoid scratchiness for the babies, but this has the added bonus of the yarn not giving much resistance for the RSIer. In a similar vein, a loose gauge is required: again, softness for babies, less tension for the knitter. Last but not least, baby stuff is tiny! This means that a project can be completed very quickly, giving your RSIer a quick sense of accomplishment even if they can’t work on it for long stretches of time.

Above is an example of the kind of simple baby stuff I’ve been knitting – a lovely pattern to knit up even if you don’t have a particular baby in mind at the moment of knitting. They’re very handy to keep around and quickly grab for a gift when an unexpected new baby shows up. Every baby needs a practical hat, and mothers love them. Pattern and yarn details on Ravelry.


Ok, so I’m willing to admit that whatzitknitz may have had a point when she said do I sense a love of fiddly toys starting ; ) two in a row is all I am saying. Though I still maintain that it is due to the fact that after the Fiddliest Fiddling Octopus, nothing can match the level of fiddliness, and thus many other toys seem super easy to make now.

And by many other, I mean, three in a row.

Yes, there may be something to it after all…

(In case anyone is wondering, it’s Mousie.)