Tag Archives: sweater

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.

Emergency Whale Rescue – The Sailor Sweater

Thank you so much for the helpful, understanding and corroborating responses to a recent post, where I had written about a pattern that I had a number of issues knitting, a sailor-style sweater with intarsia motif: Brendan. I had detailed the issues that I’d had with the pattern (neck opening size, motif size, motif placement) and the steps I’d taken to try to deal with the pattern errors and inconsistencies, before having chucked in the towel and decided that it wasn’t worth the extra hassle at a time whilst I had been ill.

A number of people said to just frog the entire project and re-use the yarn for something more pleasing, which I would have done if by the time that the edgings, intarsia, front and back seamed pieces, etc, wouldn’t have meant that I’d have ended up with a load of awkward scraps. so, instead I put an hour aside today and decided to just knit a few edgings onto the neckline and sleeve holes, so that at least it was finished. I used my own Apply On-The-Fly iCord edging to ensure that the unfinished edges were quickly and fully enclosed. When it came to the sharp turn at the bottom of the neck opening, I picked up not one, but two stitches at the lowest part before moving the stitches up the needle, and knit these three together (again, through the back loop), to make the turn, doing this twice at the lowest point of the neckline.
It’s not finished to the degree that I would have liked, but I knew that I didn’t have the heart to work on it any further, and for relatively little work at least the edging has made it look in some way usable. I did as was suggested and tried the finished piece on Giantmonk, but shall we say that he is just a little, er, ‘rotund’, to wear it without making him look like he has been unfairly stuffed into it. I don’t know if Baby Awesome will ever wear this: I’ll see how it looks when he’s finally here.

For now I shall just put this with the other finished sweaters and see what becomes of it, whilst the pattern of hand-knits in the nursery grows one higher.

Though there are many further things that we could do with the nursery, it is, to all intents and purposes, ready for if Baby Awesome comes into the world. There are some finishing touches that I hope will be done in time, but as I reach full term today I feel at least comfortable in the knowledge that we will be at least partly ready.

Now as each day passes it feels a bit like a countdown to an indeterminate moment. I am trying to steady my nerves with simple knitting and un-fussy tasks, but tiredness is starting to get the better of me, and discomfort makes any concentrated length of time spent on a task a bit difficult. Mostly, however, I am just too nervous and excited to concentrate.

For now, the little whale sailor top sits waiting in the nursery along with all of his other things: whales and narwhals, fish, lighthouses and images of the seaside and bright oceans. I like to wander into the room when the house is quiet, and imagine spending time there soon.

The Little Whale That Would Only Fail

A few weeks ago I posted about the first baby knit that I made once I was feeling up to knitting, after the more miserable effects of my pregnancy had eased and I had started feeling up to just a few slow stitches here and there.

Today, however, I remembered that the little yellow kimono was in fact not the first baby knit that I embarked upon, though it was the first that I finished. In fact, the first baby knit (for my own baby) that I started is still not finished, and I doubt ever will be. It is my very own Fail Whale.
I hate this.After the confidence that the first scan gave us, I decided to let myself dream a little of the future, and imagine ourselves with a little baby, wrapped in precious handmade things, and in my head I envisioned a bright nursery with white and neutral brown and beige tones and a feel of the seaside, filled with whales, lighthouses, light and navy blues, driftwood and the sea-air lightened shades of summer. So, when I went looking for the first baby knit pattern I chanced upon what I thought was the perfect pattern: a little sailor-style sweater with a whale on it. We were months off of knowing whether to expect a girl or boy, but I thought that this cute little knit would suit both equally.

I liked the look of the somewhat oversized sailor collar, and so decided to pick up the $7.50 pattern as my knitting needles were twitching.

Sadly, I don’t think I will ever finish this pattern because of the frustrations it brought me. I know I should have read the Ravelry comments first, but I was away from home and on my iPhone and (excuses). Chief concern among many of the other completed projects on Ravelry is that this sweater does not successfully fit over a baby’s head. I ended up going back and fudging this a little by inserting a vertical neck opening to increase the space for baby’s head to go through, but in the original pattern the neck is continuous and joined across the collar: If you imagine sewing up the vertical neck opening and the space this leaves, it is not baby-head friendly.

I was going to edge the neckline I had created with either some applied i-Cord or a few rows of picked-up rib or garter, and then brace it with a little button-able tab, in keeping with the sailor style. I think this would have worked out, but I had other problems with the pattern, too.

I can see that all of the other projects on Ravelry have used the original intarsia chart for the sweater (the pattern comes with two: one for a sailing boat and the other for the whale, above), and I think if I hadn’t so much have wanted to use the whale chart I would have fared better, as then it might actually have worked, but as it was the chart just did not fit on the sweater.

I have been in touch with the designer who has twice said that it is my gauge (specifically row gauge) that is the issue, but it’s not. I am on gauge and actually it is the maths in the pattern.

The pattern gives a row gauge of 24 rows per 4″/10cm (so six rows per inch). The pattern gives to knit 5 rows of garter stitch (which is about ½”) then you are to knit 1″ of stockinette for the newborn size (so, keep track here: 1½” so far). The whale motif is 39 rows high, which at 6 rows per inch works out to 6½”, added to the initial 1½” gives 8 inches total by the time that the last row of the whale intarsia is knit. However, the pattern gives instruction to start the bind-off for armhole shaping for the newborn size after 6″ from the cast-on edge: 2 inches before, (using the pattern’s gauge), the chart would be finished. If using the sailing boat chart this would likely not present a problem, as the tapering triangle formed by the sails would bring the motif in at the sides enough to avoid the decreases formed by the armhole shaping. However, the motif of the whale runs right up to the top-left corner of the chart, and the newborn sweater makes use of the entire width of the chart up to the seaming line, so you’s have to sacrifice half of the whale’s tail.

I did contact the designer with the issues in the chart, but was told that it was my gauge at fault. I did email back with the maths of the pattern in the given gauge of the pattern, but was told it was my gauge and that many people had issues with achieving the gauge (I did not), so kind of gave up and decided to just improvise around the armholes as best as I could. But, by now, I was kind of fed up of the whole project. I like adapting and modifying things to suit a particular idea or preference of mine, but having to do so to be able to allow a sweater to go over an infant head or actually fit the chart in the given space was just fixing problems rather than putting a stamp of preference on.

When I ran through the gauge maths again the sleeves seemed to be a bit out of proportion. It really wouldn’t have been a big job to have just re-jigged the maths on the sleeves, but I was kind of fed up of the whole thing by this point, and then I didn’t like the way the collar was worked and sat on the shoulder at the neck edge, and then felt disheartened and put it aside until finding it today.
I could edge the sleeves and neckline and salvage at least a little sleeveless sweater from this project, but I don’t know if I have either the heart nor energy to give it any more of my time. It was the project that I’d hoped would bring me through the health problems that had plagued me through much of the pregnancy, but in reality I didn’t start the next project until a long time after casting this aside. Maybe if I find where I have put the cream yarn I was using for the motif and details I will edge the sleeve and neckline to see how it looks, or maybe I will just chuck it back where it was and concentrate on new knits.

FO: Bumpy Baby Jumper

I loved the Drops Designs McDreamy Baby Jumper from the first time I saw it. It looked to be a sturdy and yet soft jumper, with all those little things I had been looking for in an early sweater for Mr Bump: a buttoned shoulder opening, nice length and a bit of detail beyond the plain.

Because my time spent knitting has been so reduced due to the problems I have had during pregnancy, I wanted to try to spread the few things I thought I might be able to make a start on throughout baby’s first year, therefore I knit the 6-9 months size of this pattern in the hope that he would not be out of those few precious hand knits within the first few weeks.
Knitting this sweater felt relatively straightforward, though there are many comments attached to other projects on the associated Ravelry listing where knitters found the pattern difficult to follow or interpret. It may be down to how individuals interpret instructions, or where knitting experience may allow a knitter to make certain assumptions around instructions, but much of the confusion appears to be around the point of the instruction where the knitting of the body of the jumper in the round transitions to knitting back and forth to begin the raglan shaping, which is worked flat to allow for the button placket at the shoulder.
I knit the pattern pretty much as per the pattern instructions, with the small modification of leaving the underarm stitches held live to knit from (rather than binding off and picking up stitches on the bound off edge, which I did to reduce underarm bulk in seaming). The only other change I made to the pattern as written was to omit the doubled-over neck edge, to produce a less bulky finish to the neck edge.
Little Mr Bump’s first handmade sweater is now packed safely away in the drawers of the nursery (which is slowly coming together) , and I can’t wait until he gets to wear his first hand knits!

Pattern: McDreamy Jumper by Drops.
Yarn: Garnstudio DROPS Baby Merino in shade Lavender.
Size: 6-9 Months.

Start Small For Big Dreams

Hello friends and followers, readers and people casually popping by.

As many who follow this blog, or my Twitter or Facebook feeds may have noticed, words have been somewhat absent for the last few months. As many will also know, I have struggled with ill-health somewhat throughout my pregnancy and it has had a bit of a knock-on effect with pretty much every other aspect of life, and my focus has really been wholly on making it safely through to bringing this little one into the world…

And as well as being on a quest to make a little human being, without even looking or using my hands (impressive, right?) I have finally, finally found the mere vestiges of what used to be the ‘me’ part of my life and have been slowly trying to bring them back into the present. It’s certainly not every day (and on some days I can only manage about 5 stitches before I am far too uncomfortable to even consider carrying on) but little by little the yarn may eek away from the ball and slowly become a very small, very simple little thing – such as this:

This is the Baby Kimono Pattern by Elizabeth Jarvis. I had initially chosen it as it worked with some yarn I already had and the simplicity of it was a real consideration at a time when my brain had turned into jelly and I was unable to move without falling over for days and days at a time. However, there are a few bits of vital information missing from the pattern: most importantly, the gauge.

To be honest, I am not entirely sure why I pressed on regardless of this fact, but I think I was just trying to make sure that my brain, it’s connection with my hands and hands’ ability to control my knitting needles were all still in tact. If anyone does decide to try to knit up this pattern in the future, I had a gauge of 22st per 10cm/4”, knit the middle of the three sizes, and this gave me a measurement across the front of the sweater of 21cm (8”) when fastened and then measured flat.
The kimono-style wrap over front of this tiny sweater is fantastic for a first baby knit as it allows the knitter to decide which side of the finished item the sweater should fasten on (handy if you or the recipient are of the mind to notice whether something does up the ‘right’ way for a boy or a girl. As it happens, I decided to add buttonholes to both sides of the piece as when I started it I did not know if we were expecting a girl or a boy, and if it ever finds another recipient then the buttons can be switched to either side to suit, if required.

My only other minor modification was to add a third buttonhole to wrap the sweater more snuggly over baby’s tummy, because tiny tummies deserve to be snuggled.