In the most recent batch of books that we were sent for review from Interweave was a copy of Modern Baby Knits by Tanis Gray. I jumped on this one because I seem to have a lot of friends expecting little ones these days, and was in the market for some fresh ideas for baby gifts.
The introduction promises designs that are "easy to knit and have fuss-free finishing, bright colors, easy-care fibers, and modern silhouettes" and the patterns following it definitely live up to this statement. I love that fun and simple colourwork is incorporated into many of the designs, and that a good proportion of them are gender neutral enough to work equally well for both boys and girls.
I was planning to knit gifts for a friend who is expecting twins, and decided that I would make something for them from the book as part of my review. One of my favourite patterns in the book is the Polka-Dot Pullover by Suvi Simola.
It looks super cute and I love the polka-dot detail on the pocket, but I decided that knitting two sweaters was a bit too ambitious... I also considered the Zigzag Vest by Helen Rose, which looks like a great way to incorporate a special skein of variegated yarn into a project, using bright colours against a neutral background for added zest.
But in the end I decided to be a bit more realistic about my available knitting time, and settled on a pair of hats, knit from the first pattern in the book: Fox Hat and Vest by Ekaterina Blanchard.
This is a quick and fun knit, cleverly using a chevron stripe pattern to create cute little fox faces. The pattern called for bulky or chunky yarn, but I knit the hats in our Staccato worsted weight merino using a slightly bigger needle size and they worked out fine. I used two different background colours so that the hats wouldn't be identical, and decided to embroider on the fox faces rather than using the buttons the pattern called for.
I started out making the 3 month size, but ended up switching to 9 months because it seemed a bit on the small side. I figure the babies won't need these until the fall anyway, and I'd rather they have room to grow into them... Since that size uses an odd number of chevron repeats, it wouldn't have worked quite so well to do a face on every 2nd chevron the way the pattern shows.
My solution was to just do one face per hat instead, which was also great because the face embroidery was more finicky than I thought it would be, trying to not make them cross-eyed! I'm very happy with the way the hats turned out though, and will definitely be referring to this book again next time I have a baby or two to knit for.
It's a little bit hard to believe, but Sweet Paprika has been in business for exactly 10 years this month! We have a few things planned to celebrate our anniversary, but I thought it would be nice to start off with a little look at where we started, and where we've been, over the past decade.
It all began way back in 2007, when Elizabeth and I, and our other sister Margaret, were all living in Ottawa. We knew we wanted to put our skills to work in some sort of business, but we weren't exactly sure what direction that would take us in yet.
A few years ago Elizabeth proposed that we make the month of February each year "Finish it February": a time to pull all of our unfinished objects (UFOs in knitter slang) out of the closet or from under the bed and dust them off.
This is the third year we've done this, and I still have quite a number of projects to pull out and deal with each year, but I've noticed that although I still have many very old ones (which I keep swearing I'll finish one day), I've been much better about not accumulating new ones since we started this.