done and done

I finished the hooded kaftan from Special Knits by Debbie Bliss! Except for the embroidery. I'll get to that eventually. Maybe. It's cute as is, though, and it's not as huge on Baby as I thought it would be. It's mainly just the hood that's too big. The sweater needs some blocking to stop the edge of the hood from turning in. I didn't have a long enough size 3 circular to pick up all the stitches needed for the edging around the hood (184 stitches) so I used a 28" size 2 instead. That probably contributes some to the excessive curling in.

Knowing that the hood is so big proportionally to the rest of the sweater, I'll make adjustments for the next hoodie I'm making from the same book. So far I've just done the back, but it's so much quicker going since it's on size 7 needles, and I'm doing the 3-6 month size, rather than size 5 needles doing the largest 18-24 month size.

The other project I finished recently was this headband/panta. Big Sister is modeling it, though it's actually adult size. It's so cute on her, especially with her little braids, so I'm definitely going to knit her one as well.

I used this pattern, but it's got some mistakes. Luckily, I had been warned of them before hand, so I was able to make it through unscathed. The main issue is with the length at which changes are made. To the halfway point, it's fine. But then it starts over with the lengths, rather than working backwards to make it symmetrical. So from the halfway point, you actually need to decrease the P5 to P4 at 27 cm, from P4 to P3 at 30 cm, from P3 to P2 at 34 cm, and from P2 to P1 at 40 cm. Then complete at 48 cm. Oh, and in the pattern it says to decrease from P4 to P2, but this is obviously just a typo, and it means P4 to P3.

As for adjustments, rather than knit the 1 stitch garter stitch border, I slipped purlwise the last stitch of each row (and then knit the first stitch on right side rows, and purled the first stitch on wrong side rows). And I did a provisional cast on with a crochet chain, and used kitchener stitch to finish. But next time, I think I'll follow the pattern and just cast on normally and seam from the live stitches at the end because it would be nice to have a little bit of seam to be able to locate the center by feel.

Vogue KnittingMy handy dandy Vogue Knitting reference book describes how to do this in the grafting section. By the by, I love this book. I use it all the time for when I'm learning a new technique, or when I've forgotten how to do one I learned once before. KnittingHelp.com is great for when you're in front of a computer, or when you need to see video of a technique, but when I'm just kicking around at home, I prefer to look in my books first. The other knitting reference book I have, The Knitter's Companion, is great too, but it's much smaller, so doesn't have all the info Vogue Knitting has. Perfect for in your knitting bag, though.


next projects

For my next project I was going to knit the argyle cardigan, again from Special Knits by Debbie Bliss, for my upcoming nephew (due in January). I knit this swatch with the yarn I wanted to use Treliske Organic sportweight merino. Rather than knitting the pattern in using intarsia, I embroidered the diamonds on afterward using duplicate stitch. As you can probably see, the cream is really too light on the silver, so I think I'll use brown tweed instead. The darker color there is dark brown that doesn't seem to be available on Treliske's site anymore.

But now I think I won't do the argyle cardigan after all. I hadn't realized that it calls for baby weight yarn, so I would have to do heaps of altering to make it work with this thicker yarn. Since I'm just going to be embroidering the pattern on afterwards, any stocking stitch sweater should do. So I think I'll do the hooded sweater from the same book. Yes, another hooded sweater. But I like hoodies. And I'll add the argyle pattern onto it to make it super cute.

While I'm working on that I'll do a little side project for myself. Inspired by the Panta! thread on MDC Yarn Crafts, I'm going to make one using this gorgeous Interlacements worsted weight merino called Oregon Worsted II. The colorway is Tapestry. I think I'll do most of the suggestions given. Like doing a provisional cast on and kitchenering (is that a word?) the seam. And also slipping last stitches rather than having a garter stitch border. I'm not really a fan of garter stitch. If it all works out well, I'll probably make several for gifts for friends and family.


finishing before finished

I hate finishing projects. The blocking, seaming, hiding ends. I especially hate that it's the last step, so that to actually finish a project, you have to do all this finishing at the end. So this time, to try to cut back on the amount of finishing there will be, I've decided to work it in during the knitting portion. Still working on the hooded kaftan from Special Knits by Debbie Bliss. Like I mentioned before, I bound off the shoulders together so I wouldn't have to sew them together later. I did the same with the top hood seam, and rather than bind off and cast on again for the bottom of the hood, I left the stitches live and increased stitches across to make up the stitch difference. One less edge to sew. When I finished the first sleeve, I picked up stitches along the body to bind off with the sleeve (using a crochet hook made it easier) so that I wouldn't have to sew that seam. And since the sleeve was mostly attached already then, I used all my long ends I had left to sew up the under arm sleeve seam, and then that whole side of the body as well. So I've got all that finished out of the way now! I'm psyched. So when I finish the next sleeve, it goes in, and I'm pretty much done, with minimal finishing. It's so much more rewarding to me this way. But I didn't block the pieces, obviously, which hopefully won't affect the finished item too much.

When I got this far, I actually almost decided to put the project away for a bit to work on something else. Despite being just 11 months old Baby wears all size 18 to 24 months in store bought clothes. She's not huge or anything, that's just the way baby clothes are sized. So for this sweater I did the biggest size - 18 to 24 months. It's HUGE. So I figured, I might as well put it aside and work on some Christmas present projects since I'm running out of time on those, and I can finish the sweater for Baby later when it'll actually fit her. I decided to finish it now. At least the knitting and seaming part, if not the embroidery. The last sleeve will just take me one week (yes, it takes me that long to knit one baby sleeve, because with Baby and Big Sister around during the day wanting to "help" I can only knit at night after they're in bed). I just couldn't leave a one armed sweater around till after Christmas. I'd see it sitting sadly in my knitting bag, and I'd feel guilty. So it's almost done, and I'll share a picture of Baby swimming in it when it finally is.


hoodie half done

I'm knitting the hooded kaftan from Debbie Bliss' Special Knits : 22 Gorgeous Handknits for Babies and Toddlers for baby. Since I took this photo a few days ago I've actually finished the hood so all I have left is the sleeves, and then the embroidery. I haven't knit a sweater in a long time. It's slow work, especially on such small needles (size 5). Oh, and as you can see, I actually knit a whole gauge swatch for once. I'm impressed with myself. I usually have no patience to do the swatch, but I figured it's worth it this time.

I'm using JaggerSpun Zephyr DK which is 50% merino wool and 50% silk. It's really soft and lovely to knit. The silk gives it a shiney sheen which I like. I'll be doing the embroidery with the same yarn in laceweight. Since I've done virtually no embroidery before (see the daisy on the bag below) I'll be practicing on the handy gauge swatch. See, I knew there was a good reason I knit it! :)

I usually Google patterns I'm planning on knitting before I start to see if there's any errata, or just general problems others have had with the pattern. This one seems to have caused some confusion surrounding the hood. I can see how it might have been confusing if I hadn't read it was going to be confusing, but knowing in advance actually made it quite clear to me. The pattern calls for the back to be completely bound off, and then the base of the hood is cast on separately, and then stitched to the bound off back. I figured that's kind of unnecessary, so I kept the back stitches live and just knit the hood from there. There are more stiches called for in the hood than the back, so I just increased evenly across the back on the next row. It seems to have worked out fine. I also did double bind offs along the shoulders and for the top of the hood, so that I wouldn't have to sew them together later which would cause a bulkier seam. Being able to do things like that is one of the reasons I like knitting with the Denise Interchangeable Needles so much. It's so easy to move stitches around from needle to needle to holder and back to needle.