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!

 

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Knitting Baby Stuff: Rainbow Honeycomb Blanket

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It’s a pretty little blanket. Perfect for keeping W’s knees warm in the car and in the pram.

Pattern: Honeycomb Stroller Blanket by Terry Kimbrough, Susan Leitzsch and Lucie Sinkler

Source: Ravelry

Price: Free!!

Yarn: 8ply merino in lots of different colours

Needle: 4.5mm

I must acknowledge significant inspiration from Duschinka on Ravelry who made this rather drab looking pattern into something amazing! This pattern is surprisingly easy. The honeycombs are made by slipping two stitches from the neutral coloured row while knitting the band of colour and then knitting them again as you reach the next rows of neutral colour… if that makes sense.

Besides making honeycombs, the other new skill I learned doing this knit was twisting two colours together so that I could knit the border which had a vertical edge up either side without getting a gaping hole. This is called intarsia apparently. There’s a little video tutorial on it here.IMG_4124

Everywhere I go with this blanket – which is everywhere as it’s a favourite of W’s – I get compliments and assertions that I should make more and sell them on Etsy. Unfortunately, I’m not the world’s fastest knitter so to make it worth my while each blanket might need to retail for $500. The other drawback would be that it would get in the way of trying something new! Which is indeed one of my favourite things about knitting.

That being said, I am starting to think about making a new honeycomb blanket, maybe in different shades of the same colour, maybe in blues or greens. But first, I must knit the yarn I already have. Wonder if I can make a funky spin on the honeycomb blanket from my stash scraps…hmmm?

Pearls:

  • Knit the border as you go – I did this by knitting seven rows of garter stitch (114 stitches) to start, then knitting 7 stitches at the beginning and end of each row to form the borders up the sides then finishing with a further 7 rows of garter at the end.
  • Use the scraps from this project to make lots of rainbow gear – – nothing cuter than a little rainbow hat and romper suit! The hat is from this book and the romper suit was a slightly imperfect variation of this pattern. I knit with smaller needles and a smaller ply yarn in an attempt to make a newborn size from a 3 months size pattern… resulted in a very small outfit that W got very little use out of. Which is a shame. Super cute.
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I made this hat and romper from the blanket scraps. The romper was gorgeous but a bit of a failure (too small to get more than two wears out of it) and the hat was a failure due to the massive head W was born with. I think he wore it once!

20 Dec 2014
Addit: Here’s a picture of the wrong side to show the intarsia, sewn in ends and border a bit better.

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