Posts Tagged ‘sweater’

Cotton That’s Fun To Knit With

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

I am not a big fan of knitting with cotton.  Most people who know me understand this fact.  I don’t like how it feels on my hands, it is not very elastic, and doesn’t feel soft…and the finished piece doesn’t drape nicely…

I’m going to stop myself mid rant, because I now am starting to sing a different tune.  I have found a cotton that I like to knit with!  I was introduced to Cotton Supreme Batik when I was out at Wool Tyme last month.  I looked at it, and felt it, and pondered whether it really could be cotton, then I saw the price tag (almost $9.00) remembered that I do have a rather large stash of yarn at home, and left the store.

The colourful stuff is the cotton

I then found out that a friend has had twin girls….and after a rather difficult Friday last week, I went to Wool-Tyme to get something soothing to knit with.  To my great surprise, I walked right over to that cotton and bought two balls (in different colourways)

This sweater is knit in “Beach Umbrella”.  The next will be knit in “Watermelon Patch”

This cotton feels very similar to baby bamboo that I’ve used in the past.  It is silky, and soft to knit with, and the resulting garment is stretchy too!  Look at that shine!

One more photoshoot….with spring flowers!

One Of Those Days

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Today was a bad news kind of a day.  Thank goodness it was also a Friday.

Bad days for me usually have me reaching for my knitting….it has been so long since I knit things other than robot hats I had totally forgotten what was on my needles!  It turns out that I needed to go to the yarn store to get the needed yardage to finish a cute baby sweater that I have been working on.  Of course, while I was there I picked up some new goodies!

I knit into the wee hours of the morning and here is the finished sweater–or almost finished–I still need to find the perfect buttons, and maybe embroider something onto the sweater to make the lace detail stand out a bit.

The sweater is my own invention.  I’d change things like button hole placement, and edging details for next time.  I’d probably also make the sensible choice to knit it top down rather than trying to make a one piece bottom up raglan short sleeved sweater.

I am pleased with the heart shaped lacy bits though!  They appear on the right and left front panels and the center of the back.  I’ve never knit much lace–the charts confuse me.  Maybe simple lace experiments will be in my future.

Here’s hoping tomorrow will be more fun!

FO: Celtic Baby Jumper

Monday, March 8th, 2010

It was a very productive weekend.  Not only did I sing in a choir concert, but somehow time was also dedicated to this little sweater which is now just about completed!  It needs a few ends sewn in, and a good blocking, and it will be good to go.  I love the yarn Life DK; it feels like wool, but is a machine washable blend of 75% acrylic and 25% wool. In case you are wondering, this colour was 2346 “Mixtures Blue Haze”

This little sweater vest will fit a 2-3 year old, but in the mean time, it is long enough to be a sweater dress for a 6-9 month old.  I polled several mothers who agreed with my measurements and my logic.  Can’t you imagine a darling baby girl wearing this over tights?

I might just have to get another colour and test knit my pattern!  The entire sweater vest took less than 100g of yarn, and the pattern is only 90 rows, but each row is different from the last.

The pattern will be available later this spring.  If any patient knitter with an eye for detail would like to test knit the pattern, please contact me!

How Big Is A Baby?

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

I’ve been knitting along happily for the past few days, making cables and diamonds and braids.  I’m enjoying the yarn and loving the colour (a shade of dark heathery purpley blue that never seems to look as good on camera as it does in real life).  As usual, I didn’t really make a swatch when I started.  Preliminary research included looking at several baby sweater patterns and looking at how many stitches they started with, and then choosing something similar.  (Note to self:  Next time, pay attention to more than just number of stitches–needle size, yarn size, age of child are also valuable pieces of information)

Today, after two diamonds are almost completed, the sweater is getting long enough to stretch it out and see how big a child it will fit–and my worrying begins.  Is this sweater gigantic?  Is it going to fit a 2 year old?  Will parents of a newborn be excited to get a 2 year old sweater?  If the sweater is gigantic in circumference, how long do I need to make it?  It’s all a question of proportion…How big is a baby anyway?!

pretty cables!

But…does it really matter?  In the end there will be a lovely sweater that will fit someone at some point.  Maybe I’ll just keep knitting, and let it sort itself out.

In the mean time, to calm my worrying, can you tell me how big around a one year old is?


Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

I recently remembered something….

I love cable knitting!!  20 rows into this little sweater and I’m totally hooked.  Maybe it is the fact that each row is different so I will never get bored of it.  Maybe it is because I can work in convenient 4 row chunks between doing all the other things that need to get done.  Maybe it is because it has been a LONG time since I did a lot of cable knitting.

Have you knit cables before?

Don’t be intimidated….they look very intense, but step by step, row by row, they are pretty easy to figure out.

I remember my very first cable knitting project.  Back in the early 90s boxy fishermen’s sweaters were pretty cool (in my middle-school mind anyway).  I was excited when my mom took me to Lewiscraft to buy more 50g balls of cream coloured acrylic yarn than I could hold in my arms.  Back then I was naive–I didn’t really know that there was anything but acrylic yarn.  This isn’t entirely my fault though since the ’80s thought acrylic was awesome!

My first cable sweater was knit in pieces then [badly] sewn together–these days I avoid sewing thing at all cost!  My first cable sweater took a lot of patience to get set up properly because I didn’t really understand  how the cables work.  I was counting stitches, and counting rows and checking things off step by step on the pattern. I remember being fascinated by how the cables worked, but frustrated because if I made a mistake I’d have to rip WAY back to fix it.

The second cable sweater (knit one year later) was more exciting to make because I knew what I was getting into.  I chose my pattern more carefully and could make more sense of the charts and instructions.  I remember knitting it during math class once my homework was done (yes…I was THAT kid!)

Since those two adventures in cables I’ve dabbled in cable socks, some were tame, others not so tame!  These socks are Rhiannon by Cookie A that I knit for a guy who wears kilts from time to time.

I am now enjoying the freedom of creating my own cable patterns.  The stress of pattern reading has been eliminated.  I simply have to remember what I want it to look like, and count rows in groups of 4.  (I hope I haven’t just jinxed myself!)

If you are interested in starting into the adventure of cable knitting, here’s an easy and quirky beginner cable project: the DNA scarf.

Image source (

Make one for the geek in your life!

So…Now What?

Monday, March 1st, 2010

The Olympics are done.  The Knitting Olympics are done.  The Ravelympics are done.  Or……are they…..

Ceilidh and Eirinn (Photo credit: Mom)

I had such a good time, I think I will start up another Olympic challenge for the duration of the Paralympics later in March!  Who’s with me?

I’m happy to report that the sales of the Olympic Red Mitten Pattern have been rolling in, and are currently at the $1550 mark raised for the Penguins Can Fly swim team.  I hope that people continue to purchase patterns and knit these mittens through the end of the paralympics.  Maybe we can hit $2010…wouldn’t that be cool?

Who knows….one day maybe some of the Penguins will be swimming in the summer paralympics!

Tonight, during the closing ceremonies, after proudly modeling my gold-medal pattern creations Ceilidh and Eirinn, I sat with no knitting in my hands–for all of about 15 minutes.  It’s at times like this that I wonder if I do have a serious problem, but I was suddenly struck by inspiration to knit more cables for a baby sweater/vest of sorts that I can almost see in my mind.

The trouble with things in your mind is that it’s very difficult to make them appear just like you imagined they would.  I am doing my best though, keeping careful scrawly notes and math written down just in case this project ends up successful enough to share with other knitters out there.

I absolutely LOVE the yarn.  It’s Life DK by Stylecraft, a blend of acrylic and wool.  Easy to care for, and so soft.  I may need to go back to Wool Tyme to get more–there are so many babies to knit for this spring!

Are you gearing up for March 12th when the torch gets re-lit?  The Paralympics run from March 12th to 21st in Vancouver!!

Happy Family Day Weekend

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

Meet little Laila, daughter of friends of mine.  At 2.5 weeks old she’s sporting her very own pair of Olympic Mittens, and the matching ensemble I knit over the last few weeks.  She’s such a cute girl, making all sorts of faces and noises as she gets used to the big bright world.

I hope everyone in Ontario has a Happy Family Day weekend!!  I know I’ll enjoy an extra day to relax, and catch up on my sleep (and knitting).

Pattern: Striped Baby Sweater

Monday, February 1st, 2010

This sweater started out with the bonnet that I made yesterday.  I had lots of stash left over, and thought a matching striped sweater would be cute.

When knitting sweaters for babies it is important to leave a big neck opening.  This sweater was going to be a cardigan….but changed half way through.

I used Astra yarn and a circular needle, size 4.0mm, to cast on 70 sts.  I separated the stitches  12, 10, 26, 10, 12.

Top down raglan construction is great since you can knit it, increasing on both sides of the markers, until the sweater is big enough to fit around the body and then continue on with the rest of the sweater.

This sweater starts with 6 rows of garter stitch, and then switches to stockinette with an 8 stitch garter stitch border/button band on both edges.

Stripes are worked at will, with button holes placed every 4 ridges in the garter stitch button band.  To make a button hole K3, K2tog, YO.  Making button holes on both sides of the garment will allow you to sew a button in the correct spot by sewing it on top of the redundant button hole.

This sweater spoke to me, wishing to become a pull-over rather than a cardigan.  Perhaps it is just since I don’t like to purl all that much.  After working 3 button holes, and at the end of a purl row, place the 8 knit border stitches on a spare needle.  Begin the knit round by combining both 8 stitch sections together by working a K2tog with one stitch from each edge of the sweater.  This will cause the borders to be one directly above the other.

The sleeve stitches are kept on waste yarn while the body of the sweater is completed.  Cast on 3 stitches under each arm pit.  Knit the body until it is 1/2 an inch from the desired finished length, then work 6 rows of garter stitch.  Note: in the round, garter stitch is knit 1 row, purl 1 row.  Cast off loosely knitwise.

The sleeves stitches are knit, armpit stitches are picked up, and joined in the round.  Decrease 2 stitches every 5th row to narrow the sleeve.  Continue until the sleeve is 1/2 inch from the desired length.  Work 6 rows of garter stitch.  Cast off loosely knitwise.

Work in ends and sew on buttons.

If you like this pattern, check out my others!

Making Sheepy Cards and Knitted Cards

Monday, December 28th, 2009

This looks like a very cool stash-busting craft to make. Explanations are on the Sheepy Hollow Farm Journal website

Sheepy Note Cards.  Image from Sheepy Hollow Farm Journal

Sheepy Note Cards. Image from Sheepy Hollow Farm Journal

I’ve got lots of fleece. I may try making some of these in the new year. They look SO cute.

Here’s another cute idea from the knitted blog. Knit a square, add buttons, make a card! So many possibilities!

card idea from the knitted blog

card idea from the knitted blog

Ohhh…these are cute too! Mini sweater and stocking Christmas Cards. Pattern located on the Better Homes and Gardens website.

Image from Better Homes and Gardens

Image from Better Homes and Gardens

These would be my top three choices for best stationery, if I had time to make them!

I do write letters, but usually I use coloured paper that I decorate with doodles as I write.

Baby Knitting

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

So many of my friends and colleagues are having babies these days!  I have been enjoying knitting teensy tiny baby things and mailing them off to various locations.  One of my favourite patterns is the Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ) {Ravelink} by Elizabeth Zimmerman.  The pattern (originally published in 1968) can be found in Zimmerman’s books “The Opinionated Knitter” and “Knitting Workshop” or can be ordered separately from School House Press, and it will be mailed to you.

The sweater seen below was made for a dear friend in Japan who became a father over the summer to baby Kouki.  It is knit with blue-green sock yarn (Lana Grossa Mega Boots Stretch) that has a gradual colour change, punctuated with black stripes of Kroy.

Baby Surprise Jacket

Baby Surprise Jacket

The sweater is cast on around the cuffs and across the back, and knit with mitered corners until you reach the button band and bottom edge of the sweater.  It is knit in one piece and has only one seam to sew up (I HATE sewing up seams and weaving in ends!).  There are infinite possibilities of stripes and colours, and it is a great way to use up scraps from your stash.

Baby Surprise Jacket

Baby Surprise Jacket

Different sizes are achieved by using different needles and wool combinations.  Zimmerman’s philosophy is that babies come in all sizes, so what you knit is sure to fit someone’s child.  I knit by that philosophy most of the time!

The first time I knit this sweater was for baby Rachel.  I was a bit nervous.  The pattern is written in a very conversational style…with warnings that what you are creating will not look like a sweater, but to stick with it until the end when all will be revealed.  When I cast off, I had this oddly shaped creation–my first Baby Surprise Jacket, knit from stash yarn of varying compostition.

Finished the this really a sweater?

Finished the this really a sweater?

I followed the folding instructions as drawn out on the pattern page, and it is remarkable to see how this can become a sweater.  I passed it around to my family members and friends, and had fun watching them struggle to figure out what it was supposed to be.

folded up properly

now it's a sweater!

I made several more BSJs with stash yarn, and I’m impressed at how different each sweater looks!  It is fun to plan out crazy colour combinations.

BSJ for Paxton

BSJ for baby Paxton

Baby Surprise Jacket from Stash Yarn

Baby Surprise Jacket from Stash Yarn

I wanted to try this pattern with self patterning yarn to see how well the stripes would show with the garter stitch, and the variation in row length.  The following two sweaters are the results of that experimentation.  I think it turned out very nicely, and had far fewer ends to weave in!

baby surprise jackets

baby surprise jackets

So, if you are looking for an interesting knitting project that will let you showcase your colour sense, and creativity give this one a try!  People will definitely ask you what you’re making.