Selbu Modern Beret

Quick post for a quick project:

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I planned this to stashbust leftovers from my Natsumi and Arabella sweaters, and I still have some leftover yarn! What to do?

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I knit this exactly as written except for adding 10 extra rows (half a repeat) before beginning with decreases. I find that to get the kind of slouch I like,  I need to knit the hat straight till it is the length of my palm, from base to fingertips, before the decreases.

Details
Pattern: Selbu Modern
Yarn: Madelinetosh Merino Light; Pecan Pie and Dusk
Needles: 2.5mm for ribbing; 2.75mm for colourwork
Ravelled: here

In Colourwork this Time…

… Yes, I proudly present another pair of socks:

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But! This is the first time I’ve participated in the Ravellenic games. After the series of socks I’ve been churning out, this project might not be considered enough of a personal challenge; but I decided that all the travelling and meetings I had to do added a time challenge. And so they did, except that I was stuck in a metal tube for 12 hours; a metal tube, moreover, with an outdated and limited section of videos, and the long stretches of ribbing went very fast.

I also like how the eye of partridge stitch on the heels and balls of the foot look like jute sacking in this colour:

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I think I have one more pair in me for this year. And then back to sweaters!

Details
Pattern: Border Socks
Yarn: Too many to list, see project page on Ravelry. I tried to make this a stashbusting project, but I still have some yarn left in each colour.
Needles: 2.5mm dpns for the colourwork, 2.25mm for everything else
Ravelled: here

Counting Sheep

Aah the sleep sack!

Client’s Brief to Knitter: should last baby till 18 months at least; should have his name on it; should be adorable; shouldn’t allow baby to wriggle out; should keep his arms warm; shouldn’t allow baby to crawl inside; no hood.

Knitter’s Brief to Client: should be fun to knit; need freedom to throw in bunch of fun, crazy stuff; should be adorable.

Happy Result:

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Here’s the best thing about baby knits that don’t need to fit — you can do anything! I started with a magic CO, worked in the round till the sheep were done, then changed to back and forth (to allow for deep slits along the side so the squiggly creature could be inserted easily), decreased to shoulder width, stranded back and forth (not difficult, simple ‘lice’ pattern), threw in a bit of intarsia, shaped a neck and shoulders, and trimmed the front with a couple of rows in a contrast colour!

Wait, did I tell you that the trim also incorporates buttonholes, so that the sack can hold the baby’s arms inside or outside? And they’re sparkly!

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After all that was going on in the front, I didn’t have much energy left for the back, so it’s much simpler — the stranded pattern occurs less frequently and there is no neck shaping, only sloped shoulders to match with the front. To tell the truth, I got super bored doing the back, ignored it for a couple of weeks, then finished it in a day and a half, spurred by fears that the baby would grow too large to fit (totally unfounded).

Then it struck me that the baby’s fat little toes could get caught in the floats, so I also lined it with a cut up t-shirt. It sounds like a lot of work, but was really, really fun!

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If you would like to replicate it, my Ravelry notes are quite detailed, and you’ll have to use the free Baa-ble Hat pattern, making sure that your total stitch count where you want the sheep is a multiple of 60.

Details
Pattern: my own, with Baa-ble Hat
YarnCascade 220 Heathers, Filatura di Crosa Principessa, Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted, Sirdar Snuggly DK (2 colours)
Needles: 5.5mm square (=5.0mm round)
Ravelled: here

Shocked and Random

I’ve been knitting dedicatedly for a while now, and have never feared to try anything. So I was shocked — shocked, I tell you! — to realise I’ve never done any intarsia! Of course I knew the theory. But looking back at projects all the way from 2008, I couldn’t find a single intarsia’d stitch.

Well, that’s been remedied now:

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I’m still chugging away at the sleep sack. I’ll write about all the design decisions in the FO post, but at least now it looks like what I imagined. There was a point where I was worried it would be weirdly long and lumpy.

In other random news, I jumped on the adult colouring book bandwagon:

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And ordered even more sock yarn:

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Thyme, Nectar and Ginger from Madelinetosh. Very botanical, no?

 

Sheepy Dreams

In the middle of my sock knitting jag, what could be more appropriate than to interrupt the current socks in progress…

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(Elm, in Malabrigo Sock “Turner”)

… with another giant, sock-like thing?

This is a very much designed-on-the-fly sleep sack for a little baby who apparently doesn’t quite approve of the current southern hemisphere winter. I’m using the ever-popular Baa-ble Hat pattern for the sheep and stars (snow??), but started the bottom like a gigantic sock toe with a magic CO.

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The best thing about baby knits which don’t have to fit is the freedom to do pretty much everything. Stranded! Pictorial motifs! All the colours! In the round! Back and forth! Maybe even intarsia!

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Yeah, I’m enjoying myself.

 

A Tiny Exaggeration

I am amazed and bemused to report that I stopped knitting for a month. There was too much travel and too much work, both adding up to too much stress, even though of a good kind, the stress of accomplishment and success; but whenever I tried to pick up any knitting, my mind cringed and said “No!”

So odd!

Once all the travelling was done I tried to start, but couldn’t. My Ravelry queue, full of things I’d longed to make, bored me. The sight of my WIPs exhausted me. Fondling skeined yarn irritated me. Nothing new inspired me. So I just stopped knitting.

In the meanwhile, I’d been discussing a baby sweater with a pregnant friend. And what a pleasure it is, to discuss gifts with people who know exactly what they want! A clear “yes” or “no” is so much more helpful than “whatever you like”!

After some discussion, the design brief was as follows: great looking rather than intended for the long-term; to be used for the newborn photoshoot then framed, so would have to be the smallest size; no insipid pastels; no dull colours like brown or black; to suit a super-cool individual who just happened to be an infant. The sort of infant who sits in plush velvet armchairs in his library, in horn-rimmed glasses, reading leather bound books and smoking cigars (ok, perhaps the last bit is a trifle exaggerated!!).

So of course I knew it had to be a shawl collar smoking jacket. With stripes or colourwork for emphasis. And matching booties. And some extravagant colourwork on the cap to show off my knitting skills. And since the kid would outgrow everything in a month, why not a toy which he could use for a longer time? Everything colour coordinated of course!

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And lo and behold: even as I was planning it all out my knitting mojo came back! I suppose a baby set was different enough to tickle my brain and get it going again. I also managed to use up a lot of scraps yet make a coherent colour scheme, so felt happy about that too.

All yarn and gauge details are on each item’s Ravelry page. Briefly, here’s the final set:

Baby Sophisticate Cardigan– I should have ‘shawlled’ the collar more, but needed to save the yellow yarn for the rest of the items.

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Saartje’s Booties – made with as few ends as possible to avoid the previous set’s nightmarish millions of ends to sew in.

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Cap – simple garter brim cap with colourwork quickly charted out on paper.

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Purlbee Hedgehog – ran out of the fuzzy white at the bottom of the belly and had to use the heathered grey. Did three rows of 1×1 checkerboard pattern to make the colour change look intentional, and I quite like the effect now! Added bowtie in same yellow yarn from other garments so that it looks like part of the set.

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And that’s it! Thank you Baby E (whose name is still unknown, but who has been informed at an embryonic stage that his middle name shall be Exaggeration, so I can call his mother the ‘Mother of Exaggeration’) for making me happy to knit again!

Botanical Labours

I made another Taffy Blouse. Nothing much to say, it’s a nice little pattern and fits well.

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Pattern: Taffy Blouse from Colette Sewing Handbook

Fabric: Botanical print fine cotton for everything, including self bias bindings. Unlike my previous Taffy with viscose, the cotton wasn’t such a pain to cut. I laid the fabric flat, laid pattern pieces on it, marked around, then flipped the half piece to mark the other side, and nothing slid around.

Pattern Changes: Moved up location of ties. For the next iteration, I may move them even further up, close to underbust level. Bias tape used was 1 ½” wide before any folding.

Size: I went with 0, since that seems to fit my frame best. If I had chosen the recommended size, I would have had to pick 4 or 6.

Garment: I like it, will probably make more. I’m trying to find a good combination of sheer and solid fabrics, so I can attach the solid as an integrated slip.

Also in repetitive projects, I made another Baby Berry Hat, with little purl bumps to simulate strawberry ‘seeds’. Whenever I offer to make hats for friend’s children, I give them a choice of patterns I’d be happy to make. Besides the hat above, I give an option for a lovely lacy child’s bonnet and an adorable little stranded cap. Without fail, parents always choose the Baby Berry – they cannot resist the urge to see their children as edible little fruit! There’s got to be a Freudian analysis of that!

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Yoked!

I tried out an experiment, and am quite excited it worked!

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See, I’ve always wanted to do a proper yoked sweater with tons of stranding. But being top-heavy already, the last thing I needed was a heavy horizontal pattern band across my shoulders. Yoked sweaters are also unflattering on top heavy people since they visually turn the neck and chest area into one giant swathe of fabric.

And then I remembered reading, in this post, that it was possible to make a circular yoked sweater with set in sleeves. Perfect answer! I modified it slightly to make it easier, and solved some problems:

  • By raising the ‘circular’ part of the yoke from across the shoulders to above the shoulders, there is no broad horizontal stroke stretching from shoulder to shoulder.
  • Also, the modified yoke acts as a visual scoop neck, which is really flattering on top-heavy bodies.
  • Finally, the back scoop is raised quite significantly, making the pattern ‘hang’ lower in front than the back, which is quite visually pleasing.

Here’s what I did:

I generated a tunic length pullover in CustomFit. It doesn’t matter what neckline type you choose since that part of the instructions will be ignored.

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I CO provisionally at underbust since I didn’t want the whole sweater flopping around as I worked the yoke. After all bust shaping was over, I worked till the underarm, then BO underarm stitches as usual. At this point, it is a tube (with some bust shaping, not shown) with the green lines denoting the BO underarm stitches.

back shaping

Then I worked short rows on the back, in wedges at the sides (black lines), to raise the sides. On the diagram there is room only to show a couple of turning points, but I actually had 10. While doing these short rows I also did underarm shaping decreases, denoted by blue circles.

Next, I worked the back straight. The white line shows the path of knitting – although I knitted straight rows, I was actually knitting along a scoop since the wedges had raised the outer edges. I continued till the outer edges (yellow line) were as deep as the armhole depth I would need for a regular set in sleeve in my size.

I repeated the wedge shaping on the front. At this point, the back and front were equally scooped (thanks to the short row wedges), but the back had been raised to the correct level. To connect it all into a circular yoke, I counted how many rows I had worked after the back wedges were done (yellow line), converted that into inches, and converted that into stitches using my stitch gauge.

I CO that many stitches between the tops of the front and back, so that all live stitches were in a large circle – back scoop, CO sts, front scoop, CO sts. Then I started my colourwork and finished the neck. I’m pretty pleased by how the yoke worked out, but haven’t yet decided on how to finish the collar. I think I’ll finish the body and at least one sleeve before deciding upon the collar!