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16 September 2016

And then there were SEVEN! :)

Well, you've probably guessed that the biggest news from the farm this week is the birth of grandlittle #7, Samantha Lynn, yesterday morning.  She entered this world at 9:18 AM, weighing 7 lbs, 7 oz and measuring 20.5" long.  She has little fuzzy curls of an indeterminate color, and her eyes -- like all babies in those first few hours -- are dark blue.

Our little Sam.

She is named for her great-grandfather, my father-in-law Sam, who would have loved her (and all of them) so dearly.  You'd think, after seven grandlittles, the waiting game at the hospital would become routine ... but it never does.  Each time, I'm a nervous mess -- waiting for the smiling face that tells me, even before words are said, that everyone is okay.

Sam and I have our first conversation!

Sam and her daddy.
Nature brings us babies, but she also brings us a change of seasons, too.  The days are shorter, here on the farm, and the evening light is dazzling and golden.

We're not the only ones to have an increase in the family; a friend of mine became a great-aunt last month when her niece gave birth to a daughter.  I pulled out my stash and put together this little ensemble, which went into the mail just yesterday.

The yarns are Sirdar Snuggly DK (100% acrylic) in Summer Lime, and Sirdar Baby Crofter Fair Isle Effect DK in color #165.  For the sweater, I used Knitting Pure & Simple's Babies Neckdown Cardigan pattern. Because this pattern is written for worsted weight, I had to do a bit of math to make it work for DK weight.  It's not that difficult to do, but it is a bit fiddly; I may do a blog post on that in the future.  The socks and hat came from patterns that I received in classes taken years ago.  The patterns are photocopies of photocopies of photocopies of typewritten patterns, and I honestly do not know who wrote them, or to whom they should be attributed.  However, Joanne Turcott's pattern on Ravelry (free!) is a fantastic sock pattern for little people, and Heather Tucker's Basic Baby Hat (also free on Ravelry) is a very good hat pattern.  I made this set to fit a size 6 months.

Of course, I couldn't go to the hospital empty-handed yesterday!  I took along a gift bag of goodies, including the Stripey Sweater and Patou-inspired set that I've already shown you.  What I haven't shown you yet is, quite possibly, the finest thing I've ever knit in my life.

I wanted Sam to have something very special, something heirloom quality that could be passed down through the generations for a baby girl's first special occasion.  So I began with the yarn: Amano's Ayni yarn (80% baby alpaca, 20% silk) in Salt White.  I do have a few notes about this yarn.  Although it's sold as a sport weight, I found (through frustrating trial and error) that it was closer to a fingering weight.  And the color is closer to cream than white.  Still, it's a gorgeous yarn, with a hand that is soft, warm, and light.  The problem I had establishing gauge led me to abandon several patterns.  Finally, I found Taiga Hilliard's "Lizzy" dress ($6.50 at Patternfish), which is written for a sock-weight yarn.  It worked like a charm!  With a little math-juggling, I was able to use the bonnet pattern from the UK Hand Knitting Association's layette pattern #36 ($5.95 at Patternfish).  My old tattered copy of a baby sock pattern fit the bill for the socks, although I confess to knitting a single sock from five different patterns before settling on one I liked.  I needed ribbon for the bonnet, and thought a bow would do nicely for the dress, too, so I went to the vast galleries of eBay to find some silk ribbon.  I found it, too -- a gorgeous length of creamy, 100% silk ribbon (13mm) that once graced a vintage gown.  It wasn't expensive, but it fair took my breath away when it arrived -- took me three days to muster the courage to cut it.

Sooooooo I guess you want to see what I did with all this, right?

Bonnet, dress, and socks.

Dress detail.

Sock detail.

This shows the fullness of the skirt.

Bonnet detail.

When I was finished with this project, I was amazed at what I had created.  It is so soft, so light, so delicate!  I credit the excellent patterns -- especially Taiga Hilliard's dress pattern -- and the amazing beauty of the yarn.  When elder child opened it yesterday, she was speechless.  She mentioned getting Sam's photo taken wearing it.  I do so hope she does!!

As I was staging and photographing these garments on Wednesday evening -- I had intended to do this at an antique shop recommended by my friend Julie, but the arrival of a sinus headache Wednesday morning left me feeling decidely out-of-sorts and not fit for meeting new people -- I noticed how the beautiful, golden light of evening was moving through the lacework on the dress.  I hung the little dress on a tree limb, and photographed the light and the lace and the silk ribbon.  This photo captures how this project made me feel: warm and filled with light.  Maybe someday, Sam will pass it on to her children.

That's it for this week.  I'm still tired from the excitement of yesterday!  However, there are a few projects on the needles right now (I'm embarrassed to admit that I ran out of yarn for one of them, and am waiting on the mail-lady to bring me more!), so there will be more lovely little things to share with you next week.  As always, feel free to follow me on Facebook, Instagram (I'm getting better!) and Ravelry -- share this post with any friends who would enjoy it -- and thanks for stopping by.

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