iPhone Gloves

Another Christmas present here!

I made these for my step-dad. On first look, they look like regular mittens:

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On second look, they seem a little bit more off:

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Then, whoa! They’re fingerless!

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What??! They’re thumbless too!

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Alright, now that the theatrics are over. My dad works out way out in the boonies and it gets cold out there in the winter. He also has to drive quite a ways to get there. I know how frustrating it is to have on nice warm gloves and then have to take them off in order to use your phone, so when I saw these gloves (Ravelry link) I thought they’d be perfect for him. You can use not only your fingers on your phone, but thumbs too! I used Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool yarn (water resistant, yeah!).

If I did them again, I’d probably decrease the size around the wrist and lower hand, especially if they’re for a girl (like maybe myself one of these days!). They looked ridiculous on my not-so-tiny girl hands and less so on my husband’s hands (and I’m certain my gauge was on). I chalk it up to partially the fact that they’re made to look more like mittens and I’m more used to gloves along with the fact that the pattern does state them as XL man gloves. At the time I wasn’t sure if it meant XL men or man=XL, but I’d say it’s the former after doing the pattern. Luckily, they seemed to fit my dad well.

Everyone who saw me knitting these were super impressed and honestly, it was a really fun project just for the nifty techniques I had to learn. I now can do Judy’s Magic Cast on (great for toe-up socks!) and a 3 needle bind off. I just knit these in the round using DPNs instead of using the two circulars method, but the instructions were easy enough to figure out for DPNs. I’m also going to send the pattern maker a few corrections/clarifications I noticed while knitting the pattern. Regardless, I’d definitely recommend it.

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Cowl and Hat to Match

Now that Christmas is over, I can start sharing the gifts I made! I knitted almost everyone’s gifts. It made for a stressful few months (especially this last one once school was over), but I think it was worth it. I made things I think will really be enjoyed and they’re beautiful (a far cry from last year!) and from the heart. I put hours into these gifts and they’re one of a kind. I think that’s what Christmas is really about.

Anyway, onto the project.

My mom and myself, circa 2004. Wow, that black hair was an interesting stage.

My mom and myself, circa 2004. Wow, that black hair was an interesting stage. Not to mention the contacts. Hrm.

For my mom’s birthday in October, I made her a cowl. For as long as I can remember, she had hair all the way down her back. A few years ago, I convinced her to shorten it a bit. After that, she just kept going! Now it’s this fun spikey length and it looks great on her, but leaves her poor neck bare in the winter! I figured a cowl would solve that problem in a jiffy!

Peanut modeling the cowl.

Peanut modeling the cowl.

I made the cowl from this pattern (Ravelry link), which includes a large and small version. Originally my plan was to make the larger version because I love big scarves myself, but I realized that with her super short hair that it might be a little overpowering, so I went with the small one. I used Stitch Nation Washable Ewe yarn and it worked perfectly.

The pattern of the cowl.

The pattern of the cowl.

With my mom’s new do, it takes a bit of styling in the morning to get it all fun and spikey like it’s supposed to be. That’s all fine and well, but some mornings she just doesn’t have the time or desire to do it. Since I know it bothers her to go out in public without her hair done, I immediately thought of knitting her a hat for Christmas. When I found this pattern (Ravelry link) (notice how she mentions bad hair days) I fell in love! It’s fun and cute and perfect for wearing over your hair when it’s not done without making it look like it’s not done, if that makes sense. I even had enough of the yarn left over to make it a matching set!

Hat from the side (that's me wearing it, not my mom).

Hat from the side (that’s me wearing it, not my mom).

Look at that pattern!

Look at that pattern!

I borrowed the hat when we went to see the lights one night and I realized that I didn’t have a hat (working on a remedy for that as we speak!) and I must say, I’m a tad bit jealous. I almost wanted to keep it for myself. Alas, I gave it to her. Hopefully she puts it to good use. It appeared to be a hit on Christmas day! I did have to show her how to properly wear a slouchy hat though. It looked great on her too!

I’d definitely recommend both of these patterns, as well as this yarn. The patterns both work better with a circular (either magic loop or to size, depending on your preference) because I had a bunch of issues with my DPNs trying to drop stitches. I’d also recommend going down a needle size on the brim of the hat if you want the hat to be secure on your head. It’s nice and loose and pretty as is, but since I have kids and therefore I am constantly moving my head around and up and down and all over, it was a tad loose for me. Other than that though, they’re both great projects and beautiful!

A Lazy, Cheap Mom’s Guide to Cloth Diapering

Be forewarned, this post is long. And full of pictures. I wanted to give as much detail as possible. None of this post is sponsored and I have not been paid by anyone that I mention. Brands are mentioned purely for my likes of them. 😀

When I was pregnant, I felt totally overwhelmed by the idea of cloth diapers. I knew it was what I wanted to do, but I there are so many options and everyone has a different preference based on their own routines and needs. While so many speak of the benefits, not so many actually tell you what to do. The ones that do tell you how they do it have extensive routines that I just couldn’t keep up with.

It took me until this second baby to find what really fit for us: prefolds with wool covers. I wrote a bit about why this is my favorite method here. Yeah, it sounds complicated and confusing, but it’s not. There’s also a wealth of benefits in using wool. Plus, of course, it’s all pretty dang cheap. At least if you do it my way.

The Goods

I almost exclusively buy our cloth diapering items at Diaper Swappers. It’s a site where you can buy and sell used cloth diapers. Sound gross? It’s really not. Washing cloth diapers gets any of the grossness off and drying, either in the drier or especially in the sun, makes sure its gone for good. If you’re concerned, there are various products you can get that are supposed to get rid of any bacteria in diapers. Buying diapers used means you can save a significant amount. With the brand of prefolds I buy, I’ve hardly lost a dime in buying them used and selling them when we go up a size.

Which gets me to the brand. I did a lot of research on prefold brands before buying them. Green Mountain Diapers had nothing worse than amazing reviews. After comparing them to some Gerbers I use as burp rags (it was a not-enough-diapers-while-out emergency) I can happily agree that they are awesome. They are spendy for prefolds, but prefolds are one of the cheapest options in the cloth diapering world. Two dozen easily gets me by and if you buy them new, that’s only $70. One prefold all night (since Twig hates to get out of bed to be changed) and zero leaks. For the lots-at-once wetting toddler, I use one of sister’s smaller prefolds folded into thirds as a doubler for her toddler-sized prefold. Part of the leak protection, of course, is the wool cover.

Peanut’s bum is so full of diaper that she waddles. It’s pretty hilarious.

Wool covers. There’s a billion places you can buy them. And they’re quite often expensive. Diaper Swappers is another great place to get them, but also Hyena Cart and Etsy. There’s probably a mom near you selling handmade wool covers right now! Or, if you’re cheap like me, you can make your own. Learn to knit (here’s my favorite pattern on Ravelry), crochet, or follow a tutorial on how to make them out of recycled wool sweaters. Even if you do buy them, I easily get by with 3 (though currently that’s two with a third being knit) and a backup or two of something non-wool (I have 1 PUL and one fleece) just in case, so it’s not super expensive.

Useful accessories: snappi (some prefer pins, but I could never get them figured out) for securing the prefold, cloth wipes (wish I could tell you where I got them, but they’re just cotton with surged edges), wetbags (more on that later), and some coconut oil for diaper rash cream.

The Method

While it’s certainly not as easy as throwing on a pocket diaper or disposable, prefolds aren’t as difficult as they look. There’s an array of folding options. I toyed around with a lot of them trying to get Twig’s huge breastfed poops to stay off her cover, but none of them really ended up working 100% of the time. Luckily, she stopped pooping in such big bursts, so it ended up being only an occasional problem. Now that she’s eating some solids, there’s no problem with that at all.

The trick is to get the diaper on the baby before she pulls this move.

Since none were preferred for keeping poop in, I just picked the one that was the quickest and easiest for me: the jelly roll. Kept the poop in most of the time and it was super fast and mindless. Plus, having a chunky baby, it was nice to be able to fan out the top easily. Secure with a snappi and pull on a cover. Voila!

The wipes all piled in the changing table drawer next to covers. Coconut oil is in the jar with the blue lid.

When baby has just a pee diaper, I don’t wipe. Really, it seems to cause more irritation to my kids rubbing the wipe over their skin than just letting the pee dry. For poop, I just run a couple of wipes under the tap and ring them out (not too much!) before walking to the changing table. I switch between wool covers if the current one feels wet and sometimes just for kicks. Dirty diapers go in the wetbag. Dirty wool goes straight to the sink.

The wetbag connected to the changing table.

Speaking of wetbags, I made mine. Well, my mom made my carry around wetbags and then supervised me making the at-home one and I still need to make one more. Currently there’s no pattern, but I’m hoping to make one in the near future to share. Before making these, I used a small trash can lined with a reusable grocery bag (the kind that you can fold up into a ball). This worked well when we used gDiapers, but with the prefolds being larger, it filled up too quick. Plus the pooch thinks diapers are AWESOME and she figured out how to open the trash can, so we had to keep it up high. Unfortunately, this was perfectly nose-height. Hence the new system. I’m happy to say that the PUL fabric at Joann’s is smell-proof.

The Washing

First off, do not wash the wool in a machine. It will felt, especially on hot. I neglected to tell my mother-in-law this and now I have a newborn sized felted soaker. I’m saving it for any possible future babies.

We wash diapers every time the wetbags are all full or I’m running low on diapers, about every two days. It’s really more of the former than the latter now that I have 30 diapers. For a month or two we were getting by on a dozen, so they were washed nightly because I can’t get through 2 days with only 12 diapers.

Generally my lovely husband does the diaper laundry. Isn’t he grand? First it’s a cold rinse (we have a really basic top loader, so each step is done manually) without soap. Just set the dial all the way to rinse and start it. It can be on hot/cold because the cold means that it’s a cold rinse. Then we do a full hot/cold cycle with Country Save. Even if it’s a bunch of diapers, we only use somewhere around 1/8 of the cup. Diapers don’t need much soap.

The cold rinse setting.

Wetbags are hung to dry, as is the PUL cover if it needs a wash (rarely). The fleece can go in the dryer. We have to dry the prefolds twice to get them fully dry. If I’ve done the diapers myself in the daytime and I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll hang them out on the line. Stains are simply zapped out by the sun. Isn’t nature great?

Wool doesn’t need to be washed every time you use it. Actually far from. It only needs to be washed if A. It gets poop on it, B. It needs to be lanolized, or C. It gets stinky. I have yet to experience C.

When poop gets on the soaker, you can spot clean it. I use some wool wash soap samples I got from a friend and all you do is run some tepid (feels neither hot nor cold to the skin) tap water on it and rub on some soap, rinse the soap off and dry. Drying means rolling it up in a towel and then hanging it to dry on the line. This time of year and using the knit wool (as opposed to felted), it’s dry in a couple of hours. You know your wool needs to be lanolized if it starts to feel wet or leaks. Honestly, I just end up lanolizing sometimes when poo gets on the cover. I use this method.

Out and About

The diaper bag necessities.

Really, this whole method transfers well to the public realm. I have a changing pad and I carry a squirt bottle and sanitizer in case there’s a poop when we’re not near a sink. I bring one, sometimes two covers. Most often 3-4 prefolds, more if we’ll be gone longer. Dirty diapers go in the travel-sized wetbag.

What’s your favorite cloth diaper? Any suggestions for my methods? Any questions? 

Matching Hats

One of the things that I love about knitting is that it gives me the ability to get the things that I want without spending a lot of money. One of the things that I want is definitely cute little matching girls. Peanut needed a sunhat because she outgrew hers from last summer, so why not kill two birds with one stone? Matching sister hats!

Knitted with Peaches N Cream in Peppercorn Ombre (bought secondhand along with 4 other big cones for a total of $10!). Here’s the pattern (Ravelry link).

The brims aren’t as flat as I’d like. After drying them with the brim flat, it’s a bit more flat. If I knit them again, I’ll probably do the whole brim in garter stitch.

Wool Soakers

Peanut still isn’t night trained. She’s good about 50% of the time, but I’m not cool with washing my sheets every other day. I’m also not cool with getting covered in pee when she sleeps in the bed. The problem is, it doesn’t seem like we have any diapers that are 100% leak proof with her these days. I think she just pees so much that it’s hard for the diaper to soak it up fast enough.

With my new found love of wool, I decided I should just knit her a wool cover. I also think that I might buy a couple of Green Mountain Diapers toddler-sized prefolds for her because I love them on Twig. I’ve heard that natural fibers (like the cotton in those prefolds) soak better than non-natural fibers. We’ll have to see.

Anyway, I knit Peanut an extra large soaker from this pattern, and then decided that I would knit a soaker for my friend who’s son is about 2 months old. She told me that at her 6 week midwife check-up that he was just over 11 lbs, so hopefully the size newborn/small will fit him for a while still.

Without further ado:

As you can see, the kitchener stitch seam is a bit tight in Peanut’s soaker. I didn’t leave myself enough yarn, but this link (from the pattern) is awesome for learning how to do the kitchener stitch. Just make sure you give yourself LOTS of extra. I felt like I gave myself way too much extra on the second soaker, but I still could have done with more. Peanut’s is also a bit big on her (even with me doing a test swatch). Not that soakers can really be too big, but just a little saggy on her. I’m planning on felting it a bit (extra protection against leaks!) and then I’ll post more pictures of it. The small soaker is exactly how I wanted it. We’ll have to see how it actually fits her baby.

In this project I learned the kitchener stitch as well ask how to pick up stitches to knit more (on the legs). I also learned how to make a {really ugly} crochet chain for the ties! It was fast and fun. I’d definitely recommend this pattern. They were knitted with Coats & Clark Royal Mouline Knitting Worsted 100% Virgin Wool. The yarn was nice to knit with, but had more breaks than I’m happy with, so I wouldn’t recommend it.

And now the winner of the Zinny Jane wool soaker!!! 

There were 70 entries in the giveaway and the winner was entry number 7.

Which is this comment:

Congratulations Donna! I’ve emailed you and you have 48 hours to respond. Thanks again to all those who entered!

Knitted Wool Longies

As I’ve mentioned, I love wool diaper covers.

By the way, there’s still just over a week left enter the giveaway for a wool soaker from Zinny Jane. There’s not a ton of entries yet and it’s super easy to enter!

So when Twig was born, I decided to knit her some wool longies. It took quite some time with a newborn and toddler, but I’m so happy I made them. They’re super cute and work perfectly as a diaper cover. No leaking whatsoever and they only feel a bit damp if I need to lanolize, which is true to all wool.

The pattern was really easy and is located here. I did the knit flat pattern in newborn and even though Twig is above the recommended weight (or at least she was 3 ounces below it a month ago, so I’m assuming she is now), she still fits in them. I made the legs plenty long, so she’ll outgrow the rise before the legs I’m certain. She seems to have relatively short legs anyway, because some of her 3-6 month clothes fit everywhere except the length of the legs.

I’ll definitely be knitting these again one size up as soon as I finish my current project of a blanket for my mother-in-law and a wool soaker for Peanut at night. Of course I have a lot of projects in my head, but this one is definitely on my short list of making soon. Speaking of my projects, if any of you knitters are interested, friend me on Ravelry! I almost have my whole stash on there (my aunt gave me an insane amount of yarn because shes so awesome) and I’ve been keeping track of my projects there too. Loving that site.

Knitted Toddler Sweater

Since I’m new to knitting, I’ve been trying to learn new techniques. One book I’ve really liked for learning the basics is Knitting for the First Time. Starting from the very basics, it gives you simple projects that teach you one or two new techniques at a time. This sweater is technique #3, which teaches you how to purl, create a stockinette stitch, and decrease stitches with the knit 2 together method. I was mostly interested in the decreasing stitches part. I also learned how to increase stitches from this because it was used in the previous technique.

I finished all of the individual pieces and then lost myself in other projects. Since it was Peanut’s “something to wear” for Christmas, I stayed up until 1-2am on Christmas Eve mattress stitching it all together. I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s a bit big for Peanut right now (the options were 2T or 4T and she’s in 3T, so I opted for 4T), but it’s still super cute on her. I also learned how to block pieces so they’re all nice and square and the right size.

Peanut in her new sweater on Christmas morning.

So excited! She even picked the yarn!

I did mess up in one spot, but it’s not noticeable. I was confused about which side was the right side and which was the wrong side when I was making the back, so the neck shaping is accidentally on the outside. Not anything you’d notice when she’s just wearing it, but I’m sure if this were a contest I’d get some points off for that. 😛 Doesn’t matter, it was made with love!