Birdies for my baby

I’ve been a knitter for years, and I’ve been knitting for other people’s babies for just as long.

The most popular item I knit is these hats. It’s from a pattern I learned from a friend’s mom.

Through the years I’ve knit hundreds of these hats, so I’ve got the pattern down. Now that I have my own baby, I’ve been knitting new things. For me, that means frustration, ripping out rows of tiny stitches, and watching knitting how-to YouTube videos. I know, I know, non-stop party at my place.

A month or so ago, I finished knitting a mobile from a pattern I found here.

Want a closer look?

And this is David’s view.

I’m a huge fan of how it turned out, but it didn’t come without lots of frustration, ripping out rows of tiny stitches, and watching knitting how-to YouTube videos.

This pattern called for skills I’ve never done before, like jogless stripes. Jogless stripes mean knitting in a circle without showing where the circle begins or ends.

Here’s my first attempt.

See how you can tell where the circle starts and stops? That is the opposite of a jogless stripe.

But I got better.

And by the last bird there was almost no jog in my stripes.

I also had to do French knots. French knots are supposed to be easy, but for me they were hard. Maybe because I didn’t have much space to work with. Maybe because I’m impatient.

I made David a stuffed bear (that he’s never played with once) pictured here, that also called for French knots. Since I knit most of the bear while on a plane to Taiwan, I wasn’t able to watch YouTube videos, so I just sewed eyes.

How did people learn things before YouTube?

Knitting this mobile, my French Knot ability actually diminished with each bird.

The first were tight and evenly spaced.

By the end I just tied knots and hoped they didn’t slip through the knitting. To be honest, I don’t think it looks much different.

There was lots of sewing pieces together and shaping. Any time you knit something that’s not just a square, you have to increase and decrease the number of stitches. I’m pretty comfortable with shaping, but somehow my first bird had a wonky tail.

After that mishap, the rest turned out fine.

The pattern suggested knitting sleeves for dowel rods and crocheting chains to hang the birds. But I don’t know how to crochet, and the sleeves just seemed like WAY too much work.

Instead, I painted dowel rods with some gold paint we already had, and tied them together with some brown wool yarn.

Then tied the other end to the birds.

I was going for the rustic look. Plus, this saved me hours of work.

I wanted to secure the knots in place, so I added a dot of wood glue to each knot. I was planning to use a lot of glue, but I happened to mention the plan to my dad and he said, “Oh yeah, that should work. Plus, you’d only need a tiny dot of glue.”

I’m glad he said that, because I used a fraction of what I initially planned, and it was still too much. The knots still have remnants of dried glue and the newspaper I put it on to dry.

But it’s rustic, right? Plus, you can’t really tell unless you look really close.

And David doesn’t mind the glue. In fact, he loves the whole thing. He looks at the birds and babbles to them. A few weeks ago my mom visited and she held him over the crib to let him touch them. Until then he must not have realized they were touch-able, because ever since then he tries to climb up our faces whenever we walk his crib or put him down for a nap.

Our night time routine looks like this: diaper, pajamas, song, frantically try to touch birdies, pray.

It works for us.

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3 Comments

  1. Lynsie May 1, 2012

    Beautiful! I HATE french knots too! When I used to cross stitch I never figured them out and now when I have to do them for something I usually just do a knot. My aunt makes them look absolutely perfect but my brain somehow just doesn’t compute French Knots!

    Reply
  2. Rachel May 1, 2012

    Awesome. Those are some mad skills right there. If I was within range, I’d probably frantically try to touch them too.

    Reply
  3. Candace May 2, 2012

    Amanda – That mobile is amazing!! I love how you can see your improvements with each birdie. I am learning about French Knots for the Mother’s Day gifts I am making. The instrutions appear simple, but I can’t get them to look like anything more than a simple stitch!

    Reply

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