Sing A Rainbow

Here are a few pictures of a recent(ish) jumper that I knit for Baby Awesome. It has everything I could want in a baby jumper: Squishiness, rainbows, and a smiley miniature person wearing it.

These photos were actually taken all the way back into September. I’d actually been sitting on them a little while as I did think about writing up and releasing this as a pattern, but I don’t know if the practicalities would be worth it. The sweater came about as I had bought the yarn to make a rainbow yoked cardigan that I had seen one grey day. Foolishly I did not read into the details far enough as though it was a raglan shaped cardigan, each of the two front pieces, back and two sleeves were knit separately. Each of the pieces carried each of the six rainbow colours and the base colour, so:

7 colours x 2 ends x 5 pieces = 70 ends, plus the need to seam up all those raglan shapings, lining up the different colours, in garter stitch. Ha ha ha ha no. It’s not that it would be difficult, but then reading the phone directory isn’t difficult. Deciding that I didn’t need something so soul-destroying in my life I instead decided to design a sweater, with a good sized and styled neck for adorable giant toddler heads, still using raglan shapings but (crucially) knit in a single piece. Seven colours, two ends each. Easy peasy. Actually, I then added a rainbow garter cuff to each sleeve to give myself an additional; 24 ends because I secretly hate myself, oh, and the garter border at the hem, but these were both completely optional, and at least added to the goodness to brilliance awesome rainbowy-ness of it. Frankly, we need more rainbows, and I sewed those ends in for the good of us all. If I had stuck solely to the rainbow yoke (as the pattern I had first intended to knit) then I would have taken the sweater from 70 to 14 ends, saving 80% of end weaving and eliminating all the seaming, and that was good enough for me.

Since finishing the sweater I have started on an accompanying blanket with the remaining yarn, and my erstwhile friend Mr Crochet Hook has come to visit. I don’t crochet very often (because my wrist clicks so much that it sounds like someone has lost a very confused tap dancer in the vicinity), but for a quick and satisfying way to whizz through your embarrassingly large quantity of leftover yarn, it’s perfect.

Once the blanket is complete I will get a picture of both the sweater and crocheted throw together, and bring more rainbows into the world.

My Knitted Doll Blog Hop

This post is part of the My Knitted Doll Blog Hop. For other other stops on the blog hop tour, please see the links below:
Monday 10th October – Sneak Peek at My Knitted Doll with SewandSo
Tuesday 11th October – Interview with Louise Crowther on SewandSo
Wednesday 12th October – Eskimimi Makes
Thursday 13th October – The Creations of Crazy Dazy
Friday 14th October – Planet Penny

My Knitted Doll, available from SewandSo for pre-order  is full of fresh, modern doll designs with a very contemporary twist. The simple body shapes and interchangeable clothes and accessory details allow the knitter to create a dolls that is truly personalised to the recipient.

I was very taken with My Knitted Doll from the outset. I love the ragdoll-style body shapes and simple, cheerful aesthetic of the patterns. Small details such as the intarsia hairstyles (making for a safer and more robust doll) give the included designs a simplified yet charming look.

Though the entire collection of dolls is based on the same basic body format, the dolls are far from dull, and opportunity for personalisation from the range of included accessories is great. Clever tricks to create everything from a knitted-in beaded bracelet to cute little mary-jane shoes allow for a wide wardrobe of clothes that can be mixed and matched to any of the girl dolls, which make up 11 of the 12 doll designs.

As the vast majority of the doll designs and accompanying accessories are for the creation of female dolls there is perhaps a bit of a lack of diversity in the included patterns. I adored this book, and this is the only reason that I decided, after a bit of deliberation, not to knit one of the designs for Baby Awesome.

Though I could very easily have made some adaptations to have styled a doll to have looked more like my son, and could have likewise devised a few more boys’ style clothing choices, with movements such as the wonderful Let Toys Be Toys campaign it would be nice to see more advancement in boys’ dolls. Though I would absolutely have no hesitation in giving Baby Awesome a female doll to play with, the charm of this book is, I believe, in creating a doll that looks like the recipient. With this in mind there is also a lack in ethnicity diversity within the doll set. Though there are a few skin tones pictured within the range of dolls, they are all relatively fair. Textured hair options would have been another relatively simple modification inclusion that would have further extended the appeal of the dolls to a wider audience of potential recipients of mini-mes.

I have hope that there may be further garment and hair options made available for download or in a future volume, giving a greater number of children a chance to love their very own knitted doll version of themselves.

Please take a moment to have a look through the charming doll styles that are included in the book preview below. My Knitted Doll is available to pre-order for November.

I am looking forward to seeing what I am sure will be a whole raft of innovative modifications from knitters who I believe will take the foundation designs included and let their imaginations run into all many of wild and wonderful unique characters. Anyone who does make their own creation from this charming book is encouraged to use the hashtag #MyKnittedDoll on social media to show off their work!

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of Louise Crowther’s ‘My Knitted Doll’ to review. All opinions are entirely my own.

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.