Pitter Patter

Friends of ours had a baby last week – a little boy. As if I needed an excuse, I whipped up a little something because, well,  I love knitting baby gifts. They work up so quickly!













They’re so adorable! So tiny! Ergo, they use so little yarn… making them perfect stash-busters.

And this yarn from Black Bunny Fibers, a hand-dyed worsted weight from my friend Carol Sulcoski, is the perfect mix of cheerful but not too sweet. The most accurate color example is in the top photo; a true crimson with bits of burgundy scattered throughout.













I’m a sucker for that little I-cord fillip at the top of baby hats. It’s cute, but not as gimmicky as hats with ears (although they can be mighty cute, too!).













Most of all, knitting baby gifts reminds me to be grateful that I’m not the sleep-depraved deprived one changing diapers and trying to function through the fog of baby-brain (Although, secretly, it does make me just a tidge nostalgic for my daughter’s own infancy. She was such a little peanut.).

Do you have a favorite baby gift to knit? What is your go-to hat pattern, bootees, or baby blanket? The bootees you see above are from 50 Baby Bootees to Knit, by Zoë Mellor. There are some wonderful, quick patterns in her book – well worth adding to your knitting library shelf if you don’t already own it. The hat is probably one of the most basic designs in existence, and I love it for two solid reasons:

~ it never fails to please the recipients, and

~ it can be embellished and modified in limitless ways, so it’s really never the same hat twice.

I worked it up using Ann Budd’s Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns for the template.

Like A Kid In A Candy Store…

There’s an infinite variety of things to do in the city, but a very finite amount of time and money with which to do them!

In the past week alone, I’ve attended the holiday party at my mother’s assisted living facility, finalized more of the material going into my new knitting book and started designing patterns for the next one, hosted a holiday party for my neighbors in our building, made a return trip to Chicago’s new Eataly to meet friends there for dinner (and definitely won’t go back until after New Year’s as it was a complete and utter madhouse), and decorated our little holiday tree:

















It looks a bit sad and lonely on the windowsill, but it suits us: I like the simplicity of the manzanita branches and the mix of ornaments we’ve collected over the years. It has the added advantage that it doesn’t have to be taken to the curb after New Year’s (although the ornaments do have to be returned to their boxes). And Shadow, for some reason, leaves it alone. This is the same cat who used to bat at the glass ornaments and try to eat the pine needles in the years when we still brought home a “real” Christmas tree!

Among the events I look forward to every December is Chicago’s One Of A Kind Show and Sale at the Merchandise Mart. This year’s was as terrific as ever; packed with people, but full of lovely gift ideas. This gigantic wreath constructed of yarn balls definitely made me smile!

















It seemed that there were fewer painters and other fine artists, and many more jewelry vendors than in past years, but jewelry was not on my shopping list. Instead, I found an adorable monster doll for friends who are expecting their first child this month:
















There were also several clothing and hat vendors. I haven’t seen such imaginative – but wearable – garments and accessories outside of exclusive little boutiques, and it was fun to try on things that I admired but wouldn’t necessarily wear.













Confession: In the category of things I most definitely WILL wear, I did find a hat that practically leapt into my arms and demanded to go home with me. I’m a sucker for great millinery, and Karyn Gingras of Lilliput Hats had such a gorgeous, elegant collection that I Could. Not. Resist. Photo to come…

Rainy Day Knitting

Outside my windows, today is like one of those Italian cookies called “bruti ma buoni,” which translates to “ugly but good.” It’s gray, raw, and drizzling, and I understand that out in the suburbs there are even snow flurries.

But this unpleasant weather makes staying indoors all the more cozy. What could be better than a mug of steaming, sweet herbal tea (or in my case, an extra-hot, large and frothy latté) at my elbow and my latest knitting project on my needles?

Ok, if I’m being honest, maybe a plate of homemade cookies to nibble between rows could make it even better…

I just finished and blocked a quick little birthday gift for my husband. He chose the yarn for this cowl from my stash; Madelinetosh Vintage in Tart, one of my absolute favorites, and a gorgeous color on him.














Here’s a close-up of the chevron stitch pattern. It’s simple but visually effective, and addictive once you get going with it:














I love the way it plays up the color subtleties in Vintage’s semi-solid colorway.