Knitting Baby Stuff: Raspberries & Cream

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Quaintly in DK weight yarn.

At risk of sounding like a broken record, I love Pekapeka patterns!

I had two little one-year-olds to knit for this year. The Little Boy Blue went down a treat and I’m hoping this girly knit is also a hit with the gorgeous Miss L as she celebrates her first year on this wild planet.

This gorgeous wild raspberry variegated skein from Gradient Aus had been sitting in my stash for a while and so I was delighted to discover this larger version of my old favourite, Composite, required just the right amount of delicious pink yarn to make the 12-18 month size.

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My last variegated knit with expanses of stocking stitch. Not a big fan of the smudge effect.

Pattern: Quaintly – DK

Source: Ravelry download from Pekapeka

Price: $5 USD

Yarn: Wild Raspberry from Gradient Aus (100g)

Needle: 3.5mm & 4.0mm circular needles

As for her Composite pattern, Kelly Brooker again has very clear and detailed instructions which make it difficult to go wrong. I used the charts to knit the lace sleeves (something I am still learning how to do well) and apart from one slight error, which would only be noticed on exceedingly close inspection of the capped sleeves, I managed to knit this while watching The Killing with subtitles. Though, I suspect I may have missed less crucial parts of the dialogue.

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The button band is written to be sewn together except for the top button. I’ve left it open so a large baby head can fit through without tears.

The button band is designed to only open at the top button and the remainder of it is supposed to be sewn down, however I left it open to allow for easy dressing. As the mother of a baby with an exceedingly large head, I am acutely aware of the issue of small necklines and I didn’t want to gift a garment that induced crying at every wear! If I’d noticed the mock button band in advance, I would have planned to pop and extra real button hole in. Hoping it doesn’t gape strangely when on.

Despite the gorgeous vibrant colour of this yarn, I think this is probably my last variegated project using big sections of stocking stitch. I’m not the biggest fan of the smudge look and have already been investigating other ways to use variegated yarn. Excited to try a linen stitch scarf and some cool socks, both waiting in my Ravelry queue as experiments in alternatives.

But first to finish that previously frogged nemesis knit.

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Knitting Baby Stuff: Greensleeves

Having nothing to do with the English folksong about a lover’s betrayal and far more to do with sleeves that are green, I am blocked and ready for the latest arrival, a delightful little Mr. who arrived just as the last drops of water evaporated from this sweet little knit.

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A frontless cardigan is far far harder to spit up on.

Pattern: Newborn Vertebrae

Source: Ravelry download

Price: Free!

Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Fingering in Canopy

Needle: 2.75mm & 3.25mm circular + DPNs

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The collar curls slightly despite my extra stitches, so should still be cosy against the nape of baby’s neck.

Another gorgeous knit from the very talented Kelly Brooker of Pekapeka, this cardi is designed with no front. Making it perfect for keeping a winter baby cosy during some skin-to-skin or even just looking cute without having to worry about dribble and chuck stains ruining every wear.

Goodness knows a new mother does not need more washing!

With that in mind, I cast on in a superwash sock wool from KnitPicks and the result is my first variegated project (subtle variegations of my rainbow mini skeins aside). I was a little hesitant with this at first. The yarn was originally purchased for socks which would have been almost stripy, but with the longer sections of knitting across the back of this cardi, the variegations did start to give that slightly smudgey weirdness that in a bad colourway can make one slightly queasy. I’m not entirely sure I’ve avoided that effect with this knit, but with the brightness of the greens I’m hoping the result is mellow happiness rather than seasickness.

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The shorter rows of the sleeves give a pleasing stripy (rather than squeamish smudging) effect.

The pattern is simple to follow and excellently written. The only thing I varied slightly was in picking up the body ribbed edging, the instructions call for 3 of every 4 stitches to be picked up around the edge. I picked up every stitch across the back of the neck as I found this neater. The result is still perfect and I wondering whether it may have pulled in awkwardly across the shoulders if I’d picked up less.

My blocking has successfully turned this into a long straight cardigan compared to the very shell shaped ones I saw on the Ravelry projects page. I’m hoping it still keeps little Mr. cosy and warm and snug as he cuddles his mummy this winter.

Knitting Baby Stuff: A Sprinkling of Rainbow

With at least three expected babies still on my ‘To Knit For’ list, I returned to the Pekapeka Design Studio for some inspiration. I have made several of Kelly Brooker’s Peurperium and Composite cardigans over the recent months and love the seam-free, simple designs. They knit up quickly and are simply beautiful!

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Pattern: Thousands DK by Kelly Brooker of Pekapeka Design Studio

Source: Ravelry download

Price: $4.00 USD

Yarn: Scraps from my stash – 8ply cashmere merino blend in a pale grey (Sublime) and rainbow colours (Morris & Sons)

Needle: 3.5mm & 4mm – I knit on circulars and used double-pointed needles for sleeves

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Weaving in the ends on the wrong side.

The pattern is written for a variegated yarn as the contrast but instead I used scraps from my Rainbow Blanket changing colour after 2 rows. This lead to lots of ends needing weaving in. I tried to use this technique but found that the contrast colour was visible behind the grey when even a small amount of stretch was applied – as will occur when this cardi is wrapped around a little tummy – so instead I wove in my ends like this.

This technique for weaving in ends looks slightly awful from the wrong side but is secure and allows you to hide contrasting yarn in a way that duplicate stitch techniques will not. It also maintains the natural stretch of the fabric so your work won’t pull or pinch.

I use a tapestry needle to slide the end through middle of the wrong side purl loops splitting the yarn so that the contrast yarn stays completely on the wrong side of the work. I work vertically and loop back and forth for 3 or 4 legs to keep it secure.

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I wasn’t sure I’d have enough yarn for the long sleeves, so when I got to that point I used my husband’s trusty kitchen scales to divide my remaining yarn in two with the idea I’d just keep knitting until I ran out for each sleeve – but then, realising this would result in half-length sleeves that would look like a knit gone wrong, I opted for a cute short-sleeve version.

Tricky enough to need my pattern spread out in front of me. Not tricky enough to prohibit enjoyment of  watching Arrested Development while knitting.

Tricky enough to need my pattern spread out in front of me. Not tricky enough to prohibit watching Arrested Development while knitting.

The main issue with this pattern is that it took me a while to get my head around it. The instructions are in the form of charts which work well once you get the hang of them, but I found my sleep-deprived brain struggling a little so needed to have two pages visible to remind me of the direction of my increases while reading the colour work chart on another page. I had to annotate my pattern a fair bit too with reminders about which way to read the chart for right and wrong side rows (probably because I’m not used to using a chart) and I also found myself forgetting to add in buttonholes.


I have realised of late that my 15 years of knitting has been stuck fairly firmly in an 8 ply cashmere merino blend rut. Having discovered the gorgeous Sublime baby knit books among a pile of very dated and oft hideous patterns at my local knitting shop many moons ago, I had thought that Sublime knits were the only modern gorgeous knits out there. I almost exclusively knit Sublime yarn and Sublime patterns for the better part of a decade.

My newly arrived delicious rainbow mini skeins from Gradient.

My newly arrived delicious rainbow mini skeins from Gradient.

It is thanks to the wonders of Ravelry that I have been inspired to get out of this rut and try new things. So, so, so, so many beautiful, modern and vintage knits and so many knitters from across the world sharing their failures and successes. I have recently been inspired by variegated and gradient yarns and am itching to get my newly arrived skeins from Gradient onto my needles. I have also been inspired to get into lighter weight yarns and have bought up a stash of gorgeous sock yarn which I’m hoping to turn into some winter woolies for myself and W.

I’m even in the contemplation phase of my first major lace project. I knit a lace shawl in a fluffy yarn to wear to a friend’s winter wedding many years ago but at that stage had no idea about checking gauge or blocking. Needless to say, it was a mild to moderate disaster. I am looking forward to venturing into lace again with the years of experience and knowledge – and the expert advice of my fellows Ravelers – now in my toolkit.