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.

IMG_9122


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.

IMG_9123


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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 2.01.07 PM


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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 2.01.46 PM

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.

IMG_9125

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: Rainbow at Daybreak

As part of my obsession with all things gradient, I managed to score a beautiful skein of ‘Spring Rainbow’ from the very talented Briony of Gradient Yarn Australia.

Like all gradient projects, the key is finding one with the perfect meterage requirements for just one skein. No more. No less. After much Ravelry trawling, I chanced upon this very simple yet striking design from Stephen West. And seeing as my Spring Rainbow echoed the washed out palette of dawn, the Daybreak shawl was a perfect fit for my yarn in more ways than one! I quickly picked out and ordered a delicious deep blue yarn to complement the colours… and then the yarn sat at the bottom of my works-in-progress bin for an eternity while I necessarily knit things with deadlines.

IMG_8709

Beautiful yet simple striping design is perfect to show off the pastel hues of Spring Rainbow by Gradient Yarn Australia. (And highlighting a mistake I only noticed when inserting this photo in this post! Oops!)

Finally, around the time B. arrived, I had a break in the never ending stream of new babies requiring knitwear and I was very excited to finally cast on this gorgeous project for myself.

Pattern: Daybreak by West Knits

Source: Ravelry download

Price: $6 USD

Yarn: Gradient Main Street 4ply in Spring Rainbow and Garnstudio DROPS Baby Merino in Blue

Needles: 3.5mm circular needle

This knit up surprisingly quickly. Though it may have been the increased knitting opportunities I had in the pre-baby phase of my maternity leave!

The pattern warned me regarding the need for a looser tension on the edges to prevent it being too tight to block and I probably didn’t pay enough heed. When it came to blocking, one edge was significantly tighter (and therefore shorter) than the other. With some diligent (read aggressive) blocking the difference ended up being only a matter of a few centimetres and is completely indiscernible when the shawl is being worn.

IMG_8719

‘Decorative’ edging due to my accidental knitwise increase on wrong side.

Having foolishly ignored this pattern note, I then completely failed to read the next one and used a knitwise increase for all my rows both right and wrong side. I only noticed the instruction to work wrong side increases purlwise when I was well and truly on my way, so I kept my error consistent throughout and decided to think of it as a ‘decorative’ feature rather than a demonstration of my ineptitude!

The benefit of a shawl when using a gradient yarn is that there is a little room to move in terms of using up all your yarn. Even more conveniently, the difference between a medium and large shawl in this pattern came down to the last few rows! So I ended up working it as a large shawl (20 stripes), but then cut short the purl ridge edging to five ridges (instead of seven) when I pulled out of my game of yarn chicken just in the nick of time.

IMG_8714

Five purl ridges rather than seven

The final hurdle was in the blocking. The pattern calls for lace blocking wires—which I found here—which are threaded through the edge of the shawl and pinned out to create a smooth curved edge. After wiping down the wires to remove a greasy residue, I set about threading them through the edge of the shawl. The process was slightly arduous and I was never entirely sure I was doing it right. It then almost ended in tears when a delivery man failed to notice my beautifully laid out shawl on the ground in our front room and trod on it with his big work boot! Fortunately, the result was no worse than a couple of bent pins. Though I may have traumatised him slightly with my sudden screeching!

When it was all blocked and beautiful, I was excited to discover that shawls don’t have to be draped over one’s shoulders—something that makes me look dowdy and decidedly round shouldered—but can be worn in a number of ways. Great post on how to wear a shawl here.

I like to wear mine like this!

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 4.51.15 PM

 


 

Having discovered West Knits by way of this shawl, I got sucked into a Ravelry rabbit hole and found this beautiful design by Susanne Sommer, which then sucked me in deeper and deeper until I found myself breastfeeding at 3am while ordering yarn from Amsterdam on my phone!

So, having just finished one, my just-for-me can’t-wait-to-cast-on project has been replaced with Susanne Sommer’s Peachy shawl and some amazing yarn from Hedgehog Fibres via Stephen & Penelope. It’s all in brioche stitch—something I had never heard of before—and I can’t wait to cast on!