December 24, 2008

Eco baby

Remember the baby waiting? Little Keldan finally arrived and I got to meet him when I was in Canada over Thanksgiving. He is just gorgeous and you can already tell that he has his mom's adorable Icelandic nose.
eco blanket
Even though I'd already sent gifts to welcome him, I knew I couldn't show up empty handed. How else was I going to distract the new parents so that I could hold the baby? I decided to make a pinwheel baby blanket using the Blue Sky Alpaca organic cotton. I'm not sure where the pattern originated, but instructions have been floating around the internet for quite some time. This was such a fun and simple project and I love that the pattern can be adapted to any yarn/gauge. For this blanket I used 5.5 mm needles and the blanket turned out to be so soft and cosy, just perfect for warming a winter baby. I used three skeins of the main color (bone) and just over one skein for the ruffle (nut). The finished blanket was about a meter in diameter, but truth be told I didn't actually measure it.
ruffle detail
The ruffle was the source of a bit of angst but resulted in a couple of very cool random encounters. Once the blanket was about as big as I wanted it to be I changed colors, knit one round and then doubled the stitch count by knitting into the front and back of every stitch. It got big very quickly and I had to go out and buy two extra 29" circular needles to hold them all. 
After increasing, I knit in seed stitch for about 5 rounds and then bound off. It wasn't quite finished by the time I left on my trip so I took it on the plane with me. I happened to sit next to a woman who was a knitter and admired the blanket. I gave her my pattern print-out and in return she told me about Addi knitting needles which are my new addiction.

Two days before I was supposed to visit wee Keldan and his parents I realized that I wasn't going to have enough yarn to finish the ruffle. A few panicked phone calls later I ended up in Three Bags Full which was the only semi-local shop I could find that sold the Blue Sky Alpaca yarn. Holy, holy, what an amazing shop! I think I'd be in there every weekend if I lived in Vancouver. When I explained that I was visiting from Boston they told me about the It's a Purl, Man podcast and the Common Cod Fiber Guild, neither of which I was aware of. I can't believe I had to go all the way across the continent to find out what's happening in my own back yard. Of course, I left with a bag full of yummy new wool and an Addi Turbo circular needle (thanks for the early Christmas present, Mom). But the best thing about Three Bags Full is that they have a heavy duty ball winder and will convert all your purchases skeins into tidy balls of yarn at no added charge. Seriously, all yarn shops should offer this service; it's a huge time saver, not to mention quite entertaining to watch.

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