Knitting Baby Stuff: Rainbows & Meadows

I’ll start by putting it out there. I could have done better. And if I didn’t have a ‘to knit’ list as long as my arm and several fast approaching deadlines (also known as due dates), I probably would have frogged this and re-knit it. But here we are and it is the way it is. I’m hoping it still finds a very happy home.

My gorgeous rainbow mini skeins from Gradient have been realised this sweet little dress.

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Rainbows & Meadows.

Pattern: Meadow Sweet Baby Dress by Marianna Mel

Source: Ravelry download

Price: Free!

Yarn: Rainbow Mini Skeins in 8ply from Gradient Aus (used ~120g)

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Needle: 4mm (I knit on circulars as you end up with 164 stitches at one point)

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Not happy with my colour change timing. The skirt starts visual on the increase row but I didn’t change colour until the start of the 4 row lace repeat.

The main reason for contemplation of frogging here was the way I divided the colours. I used a new colour every 17 rows on the bodice and every 4 repeats (16 rows) on the skirt. Given my time (and yarn) again, I would use one colour for the whole bodice, change to the first skirt colour for the increase row (row 33) and change colour every 3 or 4 repeats for the skirt. The change in colour mid-bodice looks strange and the skirt starts visually on the increase row but I didn’t change to a new colour until the start of the lace repeat resulting in a slightly awkward look.

The pattern calls for the first stitch of most rows to be slipped, which I did purl-wise—an inspiration from my Pekapeka knits—giving a very neat vertical edge. I also used markers during the bodice to help me knit the raglan sleeves without having to concentrate too much on my counting.

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Gorgeous rainbow cascade.

I’ve also been exploring the world of the ‘loose cast-off’. Patterns often call for this and I’m never quite sure I’m achieving it. So a quick Google sent me here where I found two techniques for ensuring a loose bind off. I used the ‘yarn-over’ method for this project as the skirt is ruffly and a super loose cast-off helped it show off its ruffles! The description of this technique puzzled me slightly in terms of how to get started.

I knit the first stitch, then did a yarn over and knit the second stitch. I then passed the yarn over loop over the second knit stitch and then passed the first stitch over the second stitch. Then did a yarn over and knit the next stitch. I continued in this way always putting the yarn over loop over first. Is that a better explanation?!

The other new thing for me with this knit and my Little Boy Blue was trying a different (gentler) technique for blocking. I recently bought some blocking mats from Knit Picks so after years of spreading beach towels over guest beds and then poking holes in them with my sewing pins—much to my husband’s dismay—I was able to neatly lay things out on my purpose built mats. The box came with instructions on how to block and I was rather surprised to see I’ve been doing it wrong!

I have always drenched my knit in warm water, often giving it a good few squeezes to get the water into the knit, then squeezing it again to get most of the water out. I think this has been beating my knits up a bit. I did notice recently that one of my Composite cardigans, done in a delicate silk blend yarn looked considerably more fuzzy and little worse for wear after blocking. The results with this new technique were much nicer!

The Knit Picks instructions are as follows (paraphrased for brevity):

  1. Soak knit in basin of lukewarm water until completely wet (usually at least 30 minutes). Very gently squeeze out any air bubbles.
  2. Remove from basin and put into sink to drain. Avoid wringing or twisting. Once most of the water is out, gently press knit between two towels to remove additional water.
  3. Carefully lay project out onto blocking mats away from direct sunlight or any heating vents. Shape according to pattern and use pins to secure project in place.
  4. Allow to air dry before removing pins.

Now to find some suitably gorgeous and girly buttons for the back!

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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