WIP: Another Month, Another Tank Top

Autumn is with us here in the UK, and leaves have started to turn to gold and lay fallen at the foot of trees. For the first time in many months there is a slight chill in the breeze that makes you want to pull your collar up ever so slightly, and consider the drawer full of hats and light scarves just before leaving the house. T-shirt weather has ended for the year, and an extra layer of warmth is a kind comfort.

When full bulky sweaters are perhaps a bit too warming for the middle seasons, a sweater vest, or tank top here in the UK, is a perfect Autumn and spring alternative. After finishing the striped tank top a couple of weeks ago, I have cast on a second experimental knit for Baby Awesome, something to pull on over a shirt or jersey top, just to keep the chest snug and warm the heart with a knitted cuddle.
I’ve used a variegated yarn in candy colours Regia 4-fädig Color in shade 5025 (Papillon), alongside a pale beige shade of Drops Baby Merino. Though the yarns are slightly different in construction and handle, the stitch I am using for the main body of the tank top gives enough bounce to make the two yarns work perfectly together.
The stitch I am using for this tan top works up slowly, but the effect is worth the knitting, and I hope that the finished sweater will be worth it when it is finished. Though I am using the showcase stitch for the main chest and back areas, the upper chest and shoulder areas are being worked in a squishy and sumptuous garter rib, matching that of the bottom cast-on edge.
Now that Baby Awesome has reached a year of age (a whole year of Baby Awesome being in the world has now occurred and this happy and emotional mummy can hardly believe it!) there is likely to be a bit of a slow down in his growth rate, and with any luck the things that I knit for him now may even still fit him in the spring, so this tank top may be useful for two seasons.
I’ve also been sidetracked from this current project with a bright and cheery little birthday knitting project which I hope to share soon. To further prove just how industrious I am being I also have two crochet projects on the go. It’s amazing what can happen when your baby quickly goes from waking 5-8 times a night to sleeping a 12-13 hour stretch (It’s been five weeks of good sleep, and I still don’t think I have caught up on the preceding couple of months, but I’m certainly getting there.

Enjoy any projects you have underway as the seasons change, whether you are moving into autumn or spring!

FO: Rainbow Baby Tank Top

After finishing Mr Awesome’s Socks a few weeks ago using Regia’s Pairfect yarn, I had written about my intention to use the same line of yarn in a non-sock project. The yarn is specifically designed for use in sock knitting, made to produce two perfectly paired socks, however I hoped to manipulate the single 100g skein to combine lengths of matching colour usually given across two socks to give longer stretches of colour over the larger circumference of (in this case) a tank top for a (very soon) one year old.
I knit this tank top freehand, working to Baby Awesome’s measurements as I went. After almost completing the project I decided that the length I had taken for the knit was perhaps a bit shorter than would have been ideal, so I adapted the bottom-up knit to lengthen the sleeve holes and shoulders, adding the press stud closures in case I needed to add further length to the sleeveless sweater.

As it happens, the length was fine, but the slightly deeper arm holes did drop the neckline to a very nice depth, so it all worked out well in the end.

When knitting the main part of the tank top I had to use two lengths of yarn to create each different coloured stripe, meaning that 18 lengths of yarn were used to knit the tank top before any edges were picked up and the ribbing knit. I decided to cheat a little and use a Russian join so that my evenings were not taken up doing nothing but weaving in ends. I like to do what I call a cheat’s Russian join, which negates the use of a darning needle (use of which is too close to weaving in ends to make much difference to me). As I had been asked about my technique for weaving in ends I posted the following quick explanation on my Instagram and Twitter account, so I have added it here for posterity:

Cheat’s Russian Join:
1:  loop old and new yarns (here two colours) as if they were linking arms. If ending at a particular point work out how much yarn it will take to knit to that point and create link there (I am changing colour at the marker and know roughly how much yarn it will take me to knit the six stitches to that point. It becomes very simple to judge after you’ve done it once or twice).
2:  knit with the doubled length of your current colour, up until the link (which I’ve chosen to be six stitches, ending at the marker).
3:  Slip marker and begin with new colour/yarn, again doubled at the link point.
4:  Knit with doubled yarn for six stitches, then drop short end and continue as normal. Both ends are worked in for six stitches either side of join.

The press stud closures are the standard type found on many baby clothes, but as these can be damaging to yarn the knitting is protected at the back by a very small amount of cotton jersey fabric, trimmed tight to the closure after application.

Though it would be great at this point to share a wonderfully modelled picture of the tank top, Baby Awesome is due to turn one next week, and he is full of fun, opinions, and most importantly baby wiggles. There is no picture where he is not scooting or crawling past the camera at such speed that he is basically a rainbow blur, so the only photo I have managed to catch is by laying him down, and even then he is such a little wriggly thing that the knitting ended up all bunched behind him. You’ll just have to imagine that it is neat and not covered in porridge by this point.

May you find happiness in your yarn. I’m off to try to finish baby Awesome’s next knitted gift, as I’d like to have it ready for his first birthday next week!

FO: Pairfect Socks In Awesome Stripes

Mr Awesome’s socks are finally finished. I say finally, as I see that the first time I wrote about these was on the 20th October, 2015, so I must have cast them on when Baby Awesome was only a month old, and he is now fast approaching being a year old.

I magic looped the socks two at a time to avoid second sock syndrome. It did work in that now that I have finished, both socks are complete and ready to wear, but goodness me it did feel like acres of stockinette in the round, even if you really can’t compete with a simple vanilla stock for classic wear and function, and with a yarn like Regia’s Pairfect they can also come with oodles of style.Regia’s tried and tested fibre blend is hard-wearing and holds colour well, and the unique dye pattern of the yarn allows for two perfectly paired socks with a wide cuff, striped leg and plain foot. I bought a couple of colourways of this yarn, and now that I have put it to it’s obvious and suggested use I want to see if I can put the next skein to some other, more innovative knitting idea. Perhaps gloves, maybe a baby garment. The stripe pattern has a few possibilities, though I may have to manipulate and re-wind the skein a bit to experiment.
The last 2/3rds of the socks took a couple of days to knit, and I’m glad to have the needles free again. One fewer Project lingering in unrealised potential is a positive thing, and as the finished socks are a gift for my husband (happy birthday for, uh, February, Mr Awesome!), it feels especially good to be able to finally pass on the gift (don’t feel too sorry for him, he did get other gifts).

To knit both socks at once I had to re-wind the yarn into two matching skeins as the yarn is supplied in one 100g ball and beginning of each sock is denoted by a few yards of bright yellow yarn (which serves only as a marker and is not intended to be knit). Regia Pairfect yarn would work perfectly for any sock pattern knit top down: the stripes form the leg, and then any combination of heel and toe could be knit once the solid block of colour was reached. Toe up socks could be knit if the yarn is rewound into a reverse cake, though if the knitter wished the striped legs to begin at the ankle, a cut and join might have to be made once the foot was complete.

I want to clear at least one more outstanding project off the list before I even think about casting on anything new, and I still have a pattern to format and publish, but I think it was an important step getting those stitches on the needle and the project swiftly finished off.

V-Shaped Shawl Test Knit Open

The test knit for this new Eskimimi Makes design of a shoulder-hugging V-shaped shawl is now open on the Eskimimi Makes group on Ravelry.
All of the details for the text knit can be found in the group for anyone who wishes to offer to partake. There is yarn to be won and free download codes on offer to all those who take part in the test knit. Additionally, I will be looking for name suggestions for this new design.
Please pop along to the Eskimimi Makes group test knit to look over the details of the project and the pattern requirements!

New Shawl Pattern (Test Knit Gathering)

It’s been a long while since I released a new pattern. I actually finished designing and writing this pattern back in February, but never hit the publish button. The entire pattern is ready, apart from a few little formatting additions I want to make and a test knit.

I’m going to put out a call for a simple test knit over the weekend, but for now here is a sneak peek of the shawl that will soon be joining the pattern library:

The shawl has a practical and interesting wide V shaped construction, married with an easily memorised stitch pattern. The sample above is knit in a saturated violet colour with purple-lined turquoise glass beads for a vibrant pop of colour. Beads are optional and the shawl may be re-sized quite simply.

The dimensions of the sample shawl are given below, and as it is a relatively easy-going knit the shawl works up very quickly. It is very easy to wear as the shape allows the shawl to wrap around and sit on the shoulder line very comfortably, with the elongated V providing more balance at the front than a standard triangular construction.

Further details will be posted over the weekend on the Eskimimi Makes group on Ravelry and later on the blog, where I will give details of the test knit as well as further details of the shawl and pattern.