Knitting Baby Stuff: Marguerite & Madeline

There’s an apparent baby boom going on among my friends at present so I’m in (yet another) flurry of knitting activity trying to make sure I have something for all the new arrivals. I was running a little bit behind schedule when this little lady made her entrance in such a hurry that she was (unexpectedly) delivered with help from her dad and 000 in the bathroom! Not that the dramatic (and fortunately safe) circumstances of her arrival are any excuse for my late knitting. She was actually right on time.

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A relatively quick knit for a little girl who also likes to do things in a hurry.

So having knit old favourites recently, I decided to go with something new for this little lady.

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Skew-whiff lace.

Pattern: Marguerite by Helen Rose

Cost: $5 USD

Source: Ravelry download

Yarn: Madelinetosh Feather in Over the Ocean

Needle: 3.25mm and 4.5mm 16″ circular and 4.5mm DPNs

Before I get on to the pattern—which I’ll say now made me a little grumpy—the yarn I used for this is fast becoming a favourite. Delicate, soft and subtly shimmering colour. Having not known it existed a few months ago, I am becoming a firm fan of single ply yarn for anything light and soft.

So, while this is a sweet little lacy top which is very simple to make, some aspects of this pattern irked me and my perfectionistic tendencies and I’m not sure I’d make it again without making a few corrections.

My first gripe is that the lace repeat is not symmetrical. Instead of working ssk on one half of the repeat and then k2tog for the other side, as one would expect in a lace pattern, all the decreases are worked as k2togs. To me the whole thing looks a bit skew-whiff as a result.

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Despite a thorough blocking, there is some visible laddering due to the beginning of the round running up the middle of the back.

The second foible, which I didn’t realise until I was well underway, is that the beginning of the round is positioned in the middle of the back of the garment. This isn’t a big deal in the lacy section, but despite my very best blocking, there is a clear ladder in my stocking stitch bodice at the point where the round began. It would have been far better for this to be under an arm, out of sight.

The pattern includes instructions to use stitch markers to help keep track of the lace repeats. However, with the inclusion of various increase rows which shift the location of the markers, this involves putting the markers on only to take them off again a few rows later. While this is all very clearly described in the pattern, it’s quite a to-do and I would probably have been better just to work without the markers all together. The repeat is pretty simple so it’s not too complicated to work out where you are up to if you lose your place on a lace row.

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A poorly executed bind off.

The last irksome feature of my finished object is of my own doing. I initially started to cast off the bottom of the bodice using a simple chain cast off in purl, but felt that there wasn’t any stretch in it and that it might be too tight to pull onto a wriggly baby easily. So I ‘ffo-tsac’—not my favourite knitting manouvre—and instead used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. While it is, as advertised, surprisingly stretchy, I wasn’t as even in my technique as I would like and as the beautiful stitch definition of the yarn isn’t very forgiving of poorly executed stitches, my cast off edge leaves a little to be desired. I used the same technique for the ribbed sleeve cuffs where the aesthetic issue is fortunately far less conspicuous.

So, although it’s slightly wonky looking and laddered, this is a soft and lovely lacy top which knit up very quickly for a very lovely little lady who also likes to do things in hurry.

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Lovely stretchy cuffs thanks to Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off.

Knitting Baby Stuff: Rainbows & RainDROPS

I’ve had my eye on this pattern for a while after spotting this gorgeous version by kcol on Ravelry. So when a close friend revealed the gender of her baby due this month, I reallocated my gorgeous balls of Knit Picks Chroma in Groovy and instead of making the socks I bought them for, I set about for to recreating kcol’s version of the DROPS b14-27 Jacket.

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The finished product.

I knew from the project notes on Ravelry that this would knit up larger than expected, so I cast on the 6-9 month size in the hope it will fit well for next winter when bub is nearly one year old.

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The gradient of the Knit Picks Chroma works brilliantly for these skinny stripes.

Pattern: b14-27 Jacket by DROPS design

Source: Garnstudio DROPS Design

Price: Free!

Yarn: Knit Picks Chroma Fingering in Groovy & Cascade Yarns Heritage in White

Needle: 3.25mm circulars

This is a very clever pattern which uses short rows to create a flared cardigan knit side-to-side with cast on and cast off to create sleeves. Essentially only two seams should be required. Except knit as written, one must change yarn every 2 rows! So the benefit having only two sleeve seams is overwhelmingly negated by the need to sew in eleventy-million ends. Having cast on and knit a few colour changes, I quickly recognised this issue and in addition to dreading the end weaving, I wondered whether I’d be able to make the finished product look neat and tidy. My end weaving skills are still a work in progress.

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It quickly became apparent that the clever two-seam construction was going to become completely irrelevant with eleventy-million ends to weave in.

Modification required!

By adding a white border along the bottom, I would be able to carry the yarn for the stripes and avoid the eleventy-million ends all together. Genius!

So, I frogged and cast on again adding a 6 stitch white border to the bottom edge. I quickly refreshed my memory of how to do an intarsia colour change by watching this video and got stuck in.

However, I soon realised that the neat intarsia method I was using was designed only for stocking stitch. I improvised for the wrong side knit row of this garter stitch pattern, but after a few stripes it was clear my improvisation was giving lacklustre results! Further Google searching brought me to this video and —after yet another frogging—I started again. It looked much better!

Once I was (finally) on my way, this knit up reasonably quickly and despite the rows and rows of garter stitch, the short row turns and the gradient colour changes of the Chroma yarn kept it interesting and fun.

The only other small modification I made was to slip the first stitch of every row purlwise to give a neat edge. A trick I learned from Kelly Brooker‘s newborn patterns.

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Who knew garter stitch could be so fun?

As the Ravelry project page suggested, this is a HUGE cardigan. I suspect that maybe the error is in the given gauge. It certainly seemed way off! The pattern recommends 2.5mm needles. I (rather amazingly) didn’t have any in my seemingly endless needle collection, so I swatched on 2.75mm using the Chroma. My swatch was under size by more than 20%! So I reswatched on 3.5mm. This gave me the right gauge, but the fabric looked looser than I’d like. I compromised and knit my cardigan on 3.25mm needles. Despite being well under given gauge, the resulting cardigan is enormous. It looks more suited to a 2 – 3 year old than a 6 – 9 month old!! Next time, I might knit up on 2.5mm needles just to see what happens.

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The wrong side can be just as beautiful as the right side when you have no ends to weave!

So whether it’s this winter—or more likely the next!—that this cardigan fits, I’m hoping it gets lots of wear. I’m wrapping up these Rainbows & RainDROPS to send to a little girl who made a safe and happy entrance to this crazy world just last week!

 

Knitting: A Lot of Linen Stitch and a Little Something for Me

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My gorgeous storage bin from Australian company, Plyroom.

Between work, a very active little soon-to-be-properly-walking man to hang out with, the lethargy and general awfulness of first trimester pregnancy (boo, but yay!) and our whole family being taken down by some horrible virus that seems to work its way through the body head to toe over a period of several weeks, I haven’t had a lot of time to work on my multiple works in progress, let alone write about them.

But here I am, on a rather snotty Saturday morning—out of bed because I’m on call and it’s slightly undignified to answer work phone calls whilst huddled under a doona—with an update on my current knitting projects.


For Me

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Rows and rows of knitting in the round is a welcome reprieve from my slower linen stitch projects.

It’s been an eternity since I knit something for myself. I knit myself a cardigan for my wedding in 2013 but nothing since, mostly because it was only months after my wedding that I found out our gorgeous son was on his way and since then my knitting life has been almost entirely filled with knitting baby things for him and my friends’ (seemingly never-ending stream of) new arrivals. So, some time ago I decided I wanted to work on a project for myself. Something simple to knit, that I would wear often and be comfortable in. I wear a lot of lightweight (store bought) knits so thought a homemade version of something similar was much more likely to get worn than a more bulky style.

So I’m knitting this.

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Raglan sleeve line on my Lightweight Pullover.

Pattern: Lightweight Pullover by Hannah Fettig

Source: Ravelry download

Price: $5.95 USD

Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Fresco (5ply) in Coral

Needle: 4.0mm circular

It’s proving a lovely a straightforward knit thus far and with all the linen stitch I’m doing (see below) the stocking stitch—which knitting in the round is just rows of rows of knitting—is a welcome reprieve. Unfortunately, I’m in a slight panic about finishing another project in time so this one has been on the back burner for a few months now, but with the reason for the looming deadline factored in, I suspect I won’t be wearing it for a while anyway!


For My Husband

The last time I knit something for my husband is an even more distant memory than my wedding cardigan. It was a lovely thick ribbed roll neck jumper called Flint from Sublime yarns which took an eternity and used a lot of very lovely, rather pricey, merino wool. Unfortunately, I had no idea about positive ease when I took his chest measurements to get the sizing and so rather than a lovely loose slouchy jumper, my husband ended up with a thick form fitting top which had the rather awkward effect of making him look as though he’d gained 5 kilograms the instant he put it on. Not quite the desired effect! Needless to say, it’s somewhere in the bottom of his chest of drawers providing a home to a family of moths.

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Kiogu Linen Stitch Scarf is knit lengthways with the tassels formed by leaving a length before cutting the yarn and rejoining for the next row.

So, I desperately want to make something lovely for him. He’s not really into knit wear to begin with, but he does wear scarves in winter. He prefers the more the slick gentlemen’s style than chunky knitted numbers. I’ve gone with this pattern and so far I’m not 100% sold on it, but we shall see.

Pattern: Kiogu Linen Stitch Scarf by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas

Source: Ravelry download

Price: $5.00 USD

Yarn: Kiogu Painters Palette Premium in 357, Knits Picks Stroll Tonal in Canopy and Kindling (all 4ply).

Needle: 3.75mm circular (the pattern calls for 4.0mm but mine are being used with the pullover and I figured it’s not critical with a scarf to get the gauge perfect)

I started making this using the Kiogu 357, Knit Picks Canopy (green tones) and another Kiogu I have (447) which is brilliant blue. The result was spectacular but far too colourful and outlandish for a gentleman’s scarf. I am now knitting it with the 357 and Canopy using the Knit Picks Kindling (brown tones) for every second stripe. Happy with the results, but the small needles, long rows (it is knit lengthways) and linen stitch may it slow going.


For Baby

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Take-Me-Home Swaddle Blanket in Pink Grapefruit and Pistachio Green Line Weight yarn from Purl Soho.

So, as you may have gathered, we are expecting baby number two next year and so I have been unable to resist putting down these projects in favour of (yet another) baby knit. Enjoying the linen stitch scarf and keen to use some finer yarn, I have cast on this delicious and squishy baby blanket. It is knit using two colours knit together and with the linen stitch gives a very pleasing effect of both randomness and beauty. I am using the most divine soft yarn from Purl Soho and the blanket already feels cuddly and lovely. The main drawback with thin yarn is, of course, that it takes an age to see any progress. I started this very soon after we found out that I am pregnant, and as I approach the halfway mark of my pregnancy I am no where near halfway through this blanket. It is now sitting in its little bag next to my bed and I am knitting a minimum of two rows each night before bed in an attempt to ensure it can actually be used when our baby is still a baby!

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Right side on the two colour linen stitch. Random colour variations and beautiful symmetrical triangular stitches.

Pattern: Take-Me-Home Swaddle Blanket

Source: The Expectant Knitter by Marie Connolly

Price: Free (I borrowed it from our local library)

Yarn: Purl Soho Line Weight (3ply) in Pistachio Green and Pink Grapefruit

Needle: 6.0mm circular needle

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Very civilised project pile. These see-through drawstring bags from Loveknitting (which come with yarn orders) keep everything together and visible. Perfect for the multiple project knitter.

Okay… phone’s ringing. Gotta scoot.