OK. So I have a few obsessions. Everyone has obsessions, right? Some people are neat freaks, others are avid readers, some are amazing gardeners. I however, am pretty lame. Two of my biggest obsessions are chocolate and coffee — I don’t think I would be sane without either. Somehow, I have managed to reduce my intake of both and keep my sanity though I suspect R might beg to differ.
My other obsession is crafting. Currently, due to lack of walkable space in the crap room, er craft room (that’s a post for another day — one where lots of coffee and chocolate are involved), my favourite occupation is knitting. I tend to have nervous hands anyway, and knitting gives my energy a fruitful outlet. I can knit while on the computer, or watching the telly. I can multi task while out having a cuppa with friends or at home chatting on the phone. It’s great for car trips, when I’m not the one driving, or when I am procrastinating putting my children to bed at the end of the day.
The list of knitted items is long, but I have to admit, it’s not very diverse. It’s like when you find the perfect shirt — you want want in every colour, right? Well I have two main knitting obsessions: Longies and Dishcloths.
***Inserts pause for gut wrenching laughter here***
Right, Longies. If you don’t know what longies are, I will assume you don’t have a small child in nappies. Well I’ll say that they are simply knitted wool pants. I was never a lover of wool as a fiber, because, well, being American, I had the mentality that if you can’t chuck it in the washing machine, followed by a tumble in the dryer, then why would you want to use it.
What an amazing and beautiful natural fiber! It is absorbent, yet doesn’t feel ‘wet.’ It breathes naturally. It is so amazingly warm. You can dye it yourself with natural dyes or drink mixes. Fab. Fibre. Fullstop.
So, longies. It’s all the boy wears. KR1 has worn them since I knit up the first pair when he was 8 months old using the Perfection Pants Pattern from Wooly Wonder, which I have morphed together with Pimp My Longies which is a free pattern, plus a dash of my own modifications in to boot.
I started small. A blue pair. Then a green pair. Then had to try a different wool and knit up a few more. I remember asking in a forum post if you could become obsessed with knitting longies. I can wholeheartedly say, WHY YES YOU CAN!
Pretty much every friend that has a baby these days, gets a pair of wool longies from me. i love trying out different wools, variegated and plain, to see the different patterns and colour blends that happen with each pair. One of my favourite wools for longies is The Wool Company Utiku 8ply/DK 100% wool. It’s available in solids and variegates, and knits up beautifully. I impatiently wait every April now for the release of the new colours.
My first two pairs of longies were in this wool. Blues was the first, followed by Seaweed.
So many of the boy colours last year were brown, oranges, beiges, so I tried out some Ashford Tekapo in the Forest colour. These were a fav for a long time because they went with so many different shirts.
Then a friend of mine and I had a discussion about what each of us thought ‘pirate pants’ would look like. I thought of the black pirate flab with the skull and cross bones. So this is what I created.
I am not sure I will ever again knit something in black, only to add an image with duplicate stitch. What a mission! The pants are in The Wool Company Utiku Possum Merino 8ply. A soft wool, but lacking in strenth with the short fibres. As for the skull pattern, I did some modications to the chart so that the bones would be behind the skull. These are one of my favourite pairs ever!
Here are a few more knit for friends. The first pair was for a dear friend’s little girl. KR1 and A were the best buddies when we lived in New Plymouth. These were done in Twilley’s Freedom Spirit with Tekapo Berry accents. the cuffs are done in loop stitch and looked quite cute when A wore them.
I’ve since done a second pair for Poppy. I love the Charisma Lollipop from The Tin Shed, so did the Longies in that, wih Tekapo Berry for the skirt. The skirt edge and the leg cuffs are crocheted picot edge and finished off the skongies (skirt+longies) with just the right touch.
I had another go with the Utiku Seaweed. A friend was into Camo prints for her impending arrival. This was the best I could do.
For Kellan’s Winter Wardrobe, I had to do a whole new set. Gosh, babies don’t stay little for long do they! Anyway, it gave me a reason to knit MORE pants.
This is a new wool this season, Vintage Twist by Cleckheaton. I LOVE this wool. It’s hard to get the repeat to match up, but I love it so much more than the Tekapo Forest, especially because it comes out stripey. Yummo.
Another colorway that I have been hoarding for the last year is Ashford Tekapo Summertime. Such bright and beautiful primary colours! I like to call this pair Cinco De Mayo Meets Mardi Gras. The pooling of the colours really didn’t sit well with me, but I am not one to frog my knitting. The best part of these longies is the i-cord.
The next ones were my first attempt at stripes. Change scared me. i visited a great blog with a good tutorial about tackling the jogless jog, and voila! STRIPES. Stripes are very me. This pair are done in Utiku 8 ply in Donkey and Aqua colourways. I’ve done a second pair as well as a gift for another friend as well. I just think these two colours together are quite complimentary.
The wool for this pair is Touch Wool Merino. Very scrummy.
And finally, at least for now, a few more gifts.
Another pair of out The Wool Company Seaweed. The pooling on this pair is pretty cool in my opinion. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but at least they are unique.
Noro is an amazing brand of yarns. One creative pallet of colours, hues and fibres. These longies are make from the Silk Garden range, and though the high silk content wouldn’t be good for the waterproofness of the pants, they sure do make a lovely pair of pants. Still some embroidery to do, but am debating what to do.
These have to be one of the top three pairs I’ve made. They are a premmie size, made in Cascade 220 Quattro with Utiku Donkey embroidery. Quattro is one fine wool. Will get purchasing more of it for sure!
I mentioned earlier that The Wool Company comes out with new colours every year. This year, one of the colours is Blueberry. It’s a variegated wool of denim, burgundy and reds. I’ve done two pairs in this wool. The first pair has short rows and the second does not. I usually do short rows in my longies as it gives a better fit, but with variegated wools, sometimes it nice just to see what the pooling will do.
Another new Utiku wool this season is the Russet. it’s very similar to the Ambers colourway from last season, but more muted. I was worried that the colours were too muddied. But that just goes to show that things often knit up quite differently than how they look in the hank or the ball.
This pair is knitted in Treliske Bio-Natur. I love the natural tone of this wool. I did my first ever funky cuff by just winging what I was doing. These are for a little boy named James and guess who he likes! Not a great pic, but oh heavens, a photographer I am NOT.
Here is another pair knit in the Cascade 220 Quattro. The brown is, oh no, I can’t remember. Anyway, I love this pair. If I were insane keen, I would make a pair for me.
This pair is more Utiku in one of the Natural Colours. The cow is from The Best of Debbie Bliss Children’s Knits and was just the perfect size for these pants.
I’m missing pictures of a few more pairs I’ve knit, but I saved this pair for last. It has such pretty girly colours, with lots of pink and jade tones. Just so so pretty that I couldn’t help but buy it. I should mention that it’s also Ashford Tekapo. I should also mention that it is this winter’s version of the Summertime colourway. I have to say I have my knickers in a wad over it, but I will save that for another post. In the mean time, here they are, for wee miss R.
Phew. Finally done! You still awake?