Knitting Baby Stuff: From Frogs Legs to Loopy Leggings

I’m back!

There’s been a lengthy silence on this blog due to many factors—mostly the arrival of a gorgeous B at the beginning of April—but I’ve never stopped knitting! So we have some catching up to do.

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Master B. joined our family in April.

These scrumptious leggings were finished before B. arrived, but the weather is only just starting to cool down now and we finally got them on to W for a few photos this morning.

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Loopy Leggings modelled by W. highlighting the self-striping rookie error of the leg rejoin.

They didn’t start out so fabulous. Yet again, I failed to swatch (who has time, right?) and then I failed to convert US needle sizes correctly, so used a 6mm needle instead of a 5mm needle for the main knitting. I also failed to measure my child and guessed at a size.

By the time I reached the gusset, I realised I had knit a ginormous pair of pantaloons that could have just about fit me!!

Frogged. Whole process taking far, far longer than it would have to (a) swatch and (b) measure my intended wearer.

So, armed with a needle conversion chart printed and popped into my knitting organiser for future reference, and my measurements, I cast on again. This time, a gauge swatch!

After sorting out my gauge, I got on with it and turned out this lovely pair of leggings. Only hitch being that the yarn is a little scratchy on delicate toddler skin. A thin pair of cotton leggings underneath sorted that out and he’s played happily in them all morning.

Pattern: Lamby Leggings by Sarah Lehto

Source: Ravelry (of course!)

Price: $6 USD

Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Pasea in 1017 (self-striping in red, orange & yellow)

Needle: Would you know after all that I didn’t write it down? Can’t remember what I ended up using! But you’ll be doing your own gauge swatch, right?

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Designed with plenty of room for W’s cloth nappied bottom. They might sag a little sadly over a a slimline disposable.

The pattern is very well written, including photographs to help with some of the less common techniques, such as the double bum short rows. I still struggled a little with getting this to work, but I think that is more my issue than the author’s!

I did spot a few errors—the most costly of which was the instruction in the gusset to ‘repeat gusset increase round 7 times’. This should read ‘repeat gusset increase a total of 7 times’. I repeated it 7 times (after I’d done it the first time, making a total of 8 times) and ended up with 4 more stitches than I should have. Tink tink.

I also ran into issues when I used a knit front & back (KFKB) technique for my increases in the increase round immediately below the waistband. I failed to subtract the stitch I used for the KFKB from the stitch count between the increases, and ran out of stitches prior to the end of the round. Again, my issue rather than the author’s! If I’d used a ‘make one’ technique of picking up the loop between stitches—as implied by the instructions—all would have been fine!

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I knit them a bit long to allow for upcoming growth spurts. The cuff looks cute folded up in the meantime.

My other main failing was due to a lack of finesse in using a self-striping yarn. I should have rejoined for the legs ensuring that the rejoin was the same colour on both legs and ideally the same as the colour joining them on the gusset. I didn’t do either of these things, so there’s a small odd stripe on one thigh and a huge thick stripe on the other. And the legs are not the same. But, hey, they are loopy leggings!

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Knitting Baby Stuff: The delicious dressing gown I will never knit again.

I am not sure if you recall my first large scale frogging from several months ago, but I am absolutely delighted (and somewhat surprised at myself) to say it is finally done. Sewn. Blocked. The lot.

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Contrasting edging.

To recap, this dressing gown, from a Debbie Bliss book that I borrowed from the library, looked delicious and I was very excited when I cast on in her own thick soft cashmere and merino blend Aran weight yarn. I knew it would take a while to make and also thought a dressing gown on a pre-walking baby was likely to be impractical, so I bought enough yarn to make the 24 month old size.

Well, at least, I thought I did.

One weekend, as I approached the last two balls of my main colour, I reviewed the pattern and noticed there was an awful lot of knitting still to be done and, fearing the worst, frantically emailed the Loveknitting people about getting my hands on more yarn from the same dye lot. They has two balls in stock, but could only take dye lot orders over the phone and their phones wouldn’t open until Monday morning. Greenwich Mean Time.

Despite calling right on the dot, their stock had been depleted and there was one solitary ball left. I ordered it and optimistically knit on. But with still a good length of the second sleeve to go, I ran out of yarn and after totally frogging it, and leaving a slightly irritated comment on the corresponding pattern on Ravelry, the balls of Debbie Bliss sat neglected in a bag for several months until I could face this nemesis knit again.

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Dressing Gown by Debbie Bliss

Pattern: Dressing Gown

Source: Baby Knits Book by Debbie Bliss

Price: Free (I borrowed from the local library!) but you can buy the book for $45 AUD here.

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in two shades of blue

Needle: 4mm and 5mm straight needles

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The successfully knit and grafted collar thanks to the help of a fellow Raveler.

I finally cast on again, in the 18 month old size, and despite my loathing of the awkwardly worded repeat instruction, and the need to ask for help from a fellow Raveler to understand the collar instruction (details on both issues here), I did quite enjoy the new-for-me technique of working a contrasting edging down the front. It gives the gown a extra toasty, cosy look, and makes me think of grandfathers pottering about in slippers by crackling fires. Which is really what dressing gowns are all about!

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The hems stuck out at an angle when simply turned up as per the pattern. So, I sewed them into place using slip stitch.

Once I’d knit all the parts, with a pleasing amount of yarn to spare, I got stuck into the seaming. Boy, was there was some seaming to be done! Again, the instructions were a little obscure. The pattern calls for the hems to be ‘turned up’ without any instructions to sew them, but they jutted out at an angle and to me this looked unfinished and strange, so I sewed the hems and cuffs into position.

So, while it is still a little on the big side for our not-quite walking 1 year old, the result is even more cuddly and cute than I had hoped.

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W tests out the dressing gown on a cold winter morning.

Knitting Baby Stuff: Playing Pick-up Sticks

In my current knitting frenzy, I found myself mid-way through a couple of projects and lacking the double-pointed needles (DPNs) required to finish them off. So these two little knits for boys sat idle for a little while as I waited for a delivery of DPNs from Loveknitting.com. But now, after much playing of pick-up sticks, they are blocked and ready to go to their new homes!

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Is it just me, or does knitting with DPNs always feel like a slightly strange game of pick-up sticks?

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The original version. Photo from (and instructions on how to play) here.

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‘Little Boy Blue’ – my version of Elizabeth Smith’s Little Coffee Bean. Delicious, thick and soft.

Pattern: Little Coffee Bean by Elizabeth Smith

Source: Ravelry download

Price: Free!!

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (55% wool, 33% acrylic, 12% cashmere) in two shades of blue.

Needles: 5mm circular & DPNs; 4.5mm circular & DPNs

This knit is for a little boy whose mother is in my Facebook mothers’ group. We’re doing a birthday present swap and I’m hoping this will fit him perfectly for this winter as he turns one in a few weeks. I knit the 12 month size and it’s gorgeous! The yarn was bought to make a big romper suit for W, but I realised it would be a lot of work and he was probably unlikely to wear a thick knitted romper suit more than a few times making it hardly worth it. I’m hoping this little cardigan gets a bit more use!

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Perfectly aligned button band thanks to very clear instructions on how to pick up stitches along the edge.

The pattern for this is very well written and I didn’t have any trouble following the instructions. Elizabeth Smith even specified how many stitches to pick up per row for the button band! I love this!

I find instructions like “pick-up 124 stitches evenly along the edge” slightly overwhelming, so: “Pick up and k 3 sts for every 4 rws (pick up and k 3 st, skip 1 st, pick up and k 3 sts, skip 1 st, etc) along garment edge down to hem, making sure total number of st picked up is divisible by 4 + 2. Write this number down.” …is BRILLIANT! Very, very hard to go wrong. And having followed her instructions, my number of picked up stitches was 58. Perfect.

I used a stretchy cast-off to make sure that the sleeves were easy to pull over wriggly little arms. I found instructions here. Essentially, it is done by k2tog, slipping the resulting stitch back onto the left hand needle and then k2tog again, slipping resulting stitch back onto left hand needle, etc. It made the edge so loose that it looked like it was going to flick out a bit but a good blocking sorted that out.

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Henry’s Sweater. Not for a Henry.

Pattern: Henry’s Sweater by Sara Elizabeth Kellner

Source: Ravelry download

Price: Free.

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in chocolate brown

Needle: 3.75mm circular & DPNs

This little coat just looked too cute to pass on when I saw it here, but I didn’t note the changes that had been made to the original pattern, so had to face issues of edge curl and the slightly less gorgeous cuffs. Ah well.

I’m not as thrilled with this as I’d like to be, and it seems rather huge for 3-6 months. I’m increasingly suspicious that I’m a loose knitter as a lot of my baby knits end up a good deal larger (and using more yarn) that expected. Maybe it’s time to (finally) start doing gauge swatches. Sigh.

This pattern was reasonably easy to follow—though I did find the instructions to insert sleeve decreases after given lengths (e.g. “insert a decrease row after 2, 4 & 5½ inches”) a little imprecise, so opted to calculate row counts based on the gauge of my knitting on the jacket (i.e. decrease at row 15, 30 & 43). This allowed me to ensure the decrease rows were inserted symmetrically on both sleeves. Virgo moment.

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Knitting 10ply on 3.75mm needles gives a very tight, almost felty, stiffness to this knit.

Given my time again, I’d opt for a silkier yarn. I’m not sure if it was the batch, but I found this yarn to be considerably less scrumptious than the one I used for the blue cardigan despite them being the same brand and blend. This was noticable even just as I knit, so the difference isn’t completely down to the much tighter gauge. I’d also add the ribbed sleeves as in the version I fell in love with. Not sure how to do an i-cord edge which can be used to prevent edge curl. A skill to be acquired, methinks!

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Ready to roll.

Now to parcel it up and send it off to a new little man who arrived just slightly before the DPNs did. I’m hoping he’ll love this little coat made for him. Even though he’s not named Henry.

Knitting Baby Stuff: Composite Colour Craze & My First Frogging

Following my recent mad hurried knitting for a newly arrived babe, I did a quick audit of expected arrivals and discovered I had a lot of knitting to do quick smart! Another arrival came this week, there’s another due any minute, two more in May and another in August. And that’s assuming I haven’t forgotten anyone. With two of my own projects still on the go, it’s a case of too much knitting and not enough time! But you’ll get no complaints from me!

So, digging through my stash and armed with my husband’s trusting kitchen scales, I managed to find enough yarn to turn out these cute little multi-coloured versions of the trusty Composite by Pekapeka. More information on the pattern here.

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Composite by Pekapeka using Louisa Harding Grace Silk & Wool. Leftovers from my wedding bouquet.

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Composite by Pekapeka using stash scraps in Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK.

I’m now eyeing off the last remains of my rainbow yarn and wondering whether there’s another Composite there. It’ll either be glorious or hideous. I guess the only way to find out is to cast on!


One of my two non-impending-arrival projects, is this Debbie Bliss dressing gown for W. I cast on for the 24 month size some time ago and was loving the smooth rows and rows of stocking stitch. More on that here. A nice easy in-front-of-the-telly knit. But as I got further into the project, I started to notice that the yarn was disappearing quicker than I expected. I quickly got online and emailed Loveknitting.com (the source of my yarn) to get my hands on some extra balls from the same dye lot. They emailed me to confirm they had two balls left. But, unfortunately, they are only able to take orders for specific dye lots over the phone. As they are in the UK and I am in Australia and I happened to notice the yarn deficiency on a Saturday morning, it was a long and painful wait until their phone lines reopened Monday morning UK time. In that time, somehow, someone else had got their hands on one of my balls. So when I phoned through first thing, I managed to only get the very last ball of the dye lot and praying that Debbie Bliss’s pattern can’t possibly be out by two whole balls, I kept on knitting.

As I started the first sleeve already using my second last ball, I was hopeful, but not optimistic. As that ball finished up, still several centimetres from the end of my first sleeve my heart sank. A quick stitch count and I realised I’d somehow ended up a stitch out.

Hoping that I could get both sleeves from the two balls if I just increased my tension a smidge, I unravelled the first sleeve and reknit it taking care to give just a tiny bit of extra tension to my work.

But, as I started the second sleeve, already on my last ball, I knew it wasn’t going to work. I knit on regardless. I needed to prove it to myself. I didn’t want to unravel the whole project thinking I didn’t have enough yarn. I needed to know.

But two thirds of the way into the last sleeve, with a disappointingly small ball trailing behind me, I pulled out the kitchen scales once more. I weighed the completed sleeve. 52g. I weighed the sleeve in progress with the needle and the remaining yarn ball. 48g. I weighed my other needle. 8g. No matter which way I looked at it. I had proof that I did not have enough yarn. I was trying to make a 52g sleeve with 40g of wool.

As I set about the task of rewinding balls from a fast unravelling project – much to the delight of W who watched the ball winder with intense fascination – the word “frogged” came to me. I recalled seeing it as an option on the state of a project on Ravelry. Finished. In progress. Hibernating. Frogged. This must be frogging, I thought.

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Ten balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran post frogging.

A quick Google confirms that frogging is a term for unravelling a whole project. Apparently derived from the action required. ‘Rip it’ sounds like a frog. I also discovered that to un-knit one stitch at a time, something I do rather frequently when my episode of Law & Order has been too engrossing and I’ve made a mistake, is called ‘tink-ing’. ‘Tink’ being ‘knit’ backwards.

So, feeling like I have truly joined the ranks of the hardcore knitters, having frogged a whole project and expanded my knitting vocabulary in the process, I have cast on for the 18 month old size and am praying that Debbie Bliss’s pattern can’t possibly be out by three balls.

Knitting Baby Stuff: A Penchant for Chevron

I know. I know. It’s so ‘now’, that it’s nauseating. But, I like chevron. No, really. I do.

I’ve even just bought these to protect the rather impractically highly absorbent straps on W’s highchair (hello, pumpkin goo!).

Strap Covers for Ergobaby carrier and highchair harness by Liddle Berry @ Etsy. I'm in love.

Strap Covers for Ergobaby carrier and highchair harness by Liddle Berry @ Etsy. I’m in love.

There’s just something about those little zig-zaggy stripes that makes me just a little bit happier.

In addition to my chunky cotton chevron (details here), I’ve also been getting a lot of use out of this one. I knitted this before W was born. In fact, before I even knew he was a he. I was after something soft and cuddly and gender-neutral. I love the colours and the texture of this blanket is divine. The main pitfall is that is has a ‘wrong side’, which in a blanket is a bit of a flaw. But I do love chevron. So, I’ll make an exception.

Pattern: Chevron Baby Blanket

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Detail of chevron baby blanket. I love the crisp look of a cotton knit.

Source: Espace Tricot Patterns

Price: Free!!

Yarn: Morris & Sons Avalon 10ply (Pima Cotton)

Needle: 5mm – I managed to knit this on straight needles, but circulars would have been far more sensible. I had an aversion to circulars at the time, but my recent spate of blanket knitting has cured me of such ill will.

Pearls: This pattern needs a good blocking to avoid edge curl.

Crochet: The Country Women’s Association & An Owl Hat

So on Thursday evening I did something I never thought I would do. Indeed, it had never even crossed my mind that I would not do it, that’s how much I thought I would never do it. I joined the CWA. Yep, you heard me, the Country Women’s Association.

But before you envisage me in a hall full of purple-haired nannas in tartan box-pleat skirts munching on some egg and lettuce sandwiches and cup of luke-warm milky tea… let me set the record straight.

I have joined a bunch of young mums who have recently revived a local CWA branch as a way of getting out of the house (and away from the kids) once a month and organising social events and learning new skills. So, along I went to the pub on a Thursday, my knitting tucked under my arm.

Five of us (unfortunately, the 21 people who had RSVPed for the planned cheese & wine night—cancelled due to the cheese lady getting the flu—didn’t feel so enthused by a pub meal) met up for a rather good dinner, a glass of wine (thank you Feed Safe) and a natter over some knitting. And, for a CWA meeting, I had a spectacularly nice time!

The only official business of the night was deciding what we’ll enter in the crafty competitions the CWA are running. Competitions are not what our branch is really about. We’re more wine and cheese types, but the call for a “crochet novelty item” has me submitting this little number.IMG_3699

Unfortunately, I made this with left over cotton (from some delicious blankets I made… will have to post about them sometime!) which has very little stretch. Resulting in a fairly unforgiving fit when W was born with a massive head! Even if it had been the right size, the lack of stretch means it sits rather than fits on one’s head. A mistake I would not repeat. Next version will be in wool.

Pattern: Newborn Owl Hat (by Sarah from RepeatCrafterMe.com)

Yarn: Morris & Sons Avalon 10ply cotton (gorgeous yarn… not recommended for this project)

Also on the list of items for entry – a crochet coat hanger! Can I bring myself to do it? Inspiration here. We’ll see.