Category Archives: Niecelet

Basket ‘o booties

I really like pleasing arrangements of words. So much so that I will apparently design gifts around, not how they look or how functional they are, but how the name of the gift sounds. I am not the most practical of gift-givers that way.

But I think booties are a practical gift for parents-to-be, especially when the pregnant lady has specifically asked you to knit booties, since she herself is a knitter but hates knitting on DPNs. She made some super cute sweaters for her kid and friends’ kids, but just doesn’t feel up to all the wrangling required for making tiny shoes for tiny feet (which, after knitting a bunch of those things, I totally get).

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But the end results are so cute and my sister and brother in law liked them so much, I really didn’t mind all the end-weaving, fiddly car-knitting, swearing, and wrist/finger nerve damage. Here’s a brief run down of what went into the basket o’ booties. (And if you look at the project pages, you’ll see that re: our discussion last time about picking up stitches, I did not pick up the appropriate number for ANY of these knits.)

"Eco baby booties"
Eco Baby Booties in Ella Rae worsted
Cute and quick, because they’re knit on worsted. I recommend two things: knitting with dark yarn (because there’s no way to get the seam to look neat) and sewing down the little rolled edge.

Magic slippers #2
Magic slippers 2 in KPPPM
These are the most satisfying little knit ever.

Magic booties #1
Magic slippers 1 in Plymouth Sockotta
These are the ugliest booties ever. But I guess the baby won’t get lost in a crowd? You know how babies are always doing that.

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Newborn lace socks in Dalegarn Baby Ull
Oh god my patio table is filthy. Pretend I didn’t put white baby socks on it. Also the colors are all wonky in this shot and I can’t fix them so I gave up.
These are really cute. Would knit again A++++++.

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Saartje’s bootees in Dalegarn Baby Ull
Adorbs. Right? You knew that.

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I will add though, that if you haven’t knit these before you should know that they take as long to seam and weave ends in as they do to knit. After knitting they resemble a tiny garter stitch jellyfish and it’s only another 15 minutes of sewing that makes them into the cute little accessories you see above. Also: do not do this in a car. Seaming these is a surefire way to car sickness and a headache. (But still worth it because, did you see the wee buttons and straps?) There is a version of these knit in the round, but I missed it on the first pattern hunt and was pressed enough for time that I just wanted to knit two of a pattern I’d already memorized.

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Saartje’s bootees 2 in Dalegarn Baby Ull

CUTER. I reluctantly chose the pink flower buttons for these after realizing that the little skull buttons at JoAnn’s were too big.

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Sweet Baby Jayne in Vanna’s Choice
“Baby scoots down the hall in that hat, people know she’s not afraid of anything.” (Explanation video.) This was an awesome knit for sci-fi fan parents. My brother in law got it immediately, which was exactly the reaction I hoped for. I think a grown-man sized Jayne hat might be in order right around Halloween time.

I have one more baby shower to go to for the Niecelet, and I’m thinking of knitting another hat to go along with my store-bought gift. Probably Adrian’s Town-down Bonnet with the ears, of course. Because who doesn’t like a baby in a hat with ears? (Commies.)

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Filed under Baby, FOs, Hats, Knitting, Lace, Niecelet, Socks

The impending niecelet

me and Tess

It’s an odd thing watching your little sister grow a baby.

I’m the oldest child and as such, got to do everything first. I got to test the waters of all the cool stuff when we were growing up: driving, dating boys, seeing R-rated movies, getting pierced ears, going to dances, and going to college. I got to flounder around in the shallows, make all the mistakes, and show her by example or through overt warnings how to navigate deeper waters. (Don’t accelerate as you turn. Don’t go to a dance by yourself when you know the boy you have a crush on is going with your drama-prone friend. Don’t take any classes before 9 AM.) Or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to work out in my head. She’s been the first to do all the culturally sanctioned Big Things things lately. To get a job with health insurance. To earn a grown-up salary. To get married. Buy a car. Buy a house. Have a baby. I’m not leading anymore, but I’m not following either. Our relationship can no longer be described as a linear series of firsts and seconds.

It stings a little, knowing that by all conventional measures of adulthood she’s better at this than I am. (One of the things we have in common is competitiveness.) I feel a bit like the way I used to feel when she would pick up a new musical instrument and be able to play it in under 15 minutes. Or when I realized that, despite both of us being voracious readers, she’s a much, much better writer, seemingly without even trying. Or when she dyed her hair red and just looked stunning, not anemic. Ok, fine, Tess. I guess you can be good at being a grown-up, too. Jeez. But give me back my Cure shirt and stop stealing my socks.

me and Tessa

Her pregnancy is also forcing me to admit that we aren’t actually all that close anymore. Part of this is because we live two hours away from each other, across miles and miles of congested Interstate 95. And it’s also because we’re both prickly people. It takes me years to feel comfortable around anyone and communicating isn’t something that comes naturally (it never occurs to me to email anyone about anything happening in my life, let alone make phone calls). Talking to Tess about anything is like pulling teeth. (Mom: “How was school?” Tess: “Fine.” Mom: “Do anything cool”? Tess: “Yeah.”) Neither of us has gotten better at these things as we’ve gotten older.

me and my sister

For a while in high school we were best friends, thanks to The X-Files. We both were obsessed with this show. We watched late night reruns together. We didn’t get Fox at our house, so our grandmother would tape new episodes for us and we’d watch an entire VHS tape worth of new episodes, one right after the other. We wrote fanfic together (she wrote dialog and I wrote description, although we collaborated on plot). I keep hoping for some other pop culture thing to attract both of us, so that we can have squealy conversations like we used about David Duchovny wearing glasses or what if iced tea had been in that bag.

Her having a baby means that the odds of this happening have just gone down by a whole lot. Her having a baby is a big, unavoidable representation of how impossible it is to go back home again. It feels like the number of women who could be my BFF has just dropped from 1 to 0. Any relationship we have now will be tempered by this child and the demands that it places on her.

me and Tess

This sounds bleak. And it sounds mean and unfair, both of which it is. Of course we will still be friends. Of course will still see each other. And (most importantly) this baby is not a bad thing for anyone. But it is a thing. It’s a thing that is changing my relationship with my sister. And as someone who hates change, it’s taking a while for me to get used to it. (Of course, it took me years to get used to wearing colors, so.)

In spite of all this, I am actually excited to have a niece. I’m not fantastic with children once they’re verbal, but maybe if I start with this one from the beginning, things will be less awkward? I plan to knit her many cute hats and buy her lots of books. My brother and I will make sure this kid likes Star Trek and Firefly and video games. And Alien, when she’s old enough.

I’m excited to watch my parents become grandparents and get to enjoy a baby without the pressure of raising it correctly, keeping things out of its mouth, and sending it to college. I’m excited to see my brother be an uncle, because he will undoubtedly be the coolest uncle ever. And I am excited to watch my sister become a mother because she and her husband are already so happy about meeting this little girl.

So I guess I’m going to deal with my anxiety by knitting some stuff? Cute stuff? Little duck flippers? A hat with bunny ears? A hat that is also an angry crab?

Frankly, I can think of no combination of baby garments that better express my emotions about becoming an aunt than an angry crab hat and some duck booties.

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