Monday, August 14, 2017

Baby Knits Show and Tell!

I had so much fun knitting everything for Cary's baby - knitting for a baby is special in itself, but knitting for a knitter is even better, as they know all that goes into the finished product.  Even though I've been knitting for five years now, and I'm fairly confident on certain techniques, I still had my moments with some items, but I learned a lot - and also realized that I really could use a class on refining parts of my knitting.

My biggest issues came with sizing - not having a baby in person to judge the size of what I was knitting was challenging!  I second-guessed my sizing a lot, and I will admit to holding baby Mason one morning at breakfast and "measuring" across his back with my hand to compare it to what I was knitting - ha!  Desperate times, desperate measures.  For Baby Pumpkin Muffin, my plans were to knit something in a newborn size, something in a 6 months size so he could wear it this winter, and something in an 18 month size, for next winter.  Plus a hat or two.

Because Cary's baby will be born while we're still living in the burning fires of hell, aka Texas summer, making him something that he could wear now was is a challenge - when it comes to knitwear most of it is warm and cozy, but that won't be necessary for a while with our hot temperatures.  So I decided to knit him a tiny baby kimono-type sweater, using a very popular pattern.  I chose fingering-weight yarn, which is also used for socks; it's very fine and lightweight, and I thought it would work nicely for this time of year.  I knitted the entire sweater, blocked it, and then needed to seam up the sides.  This is what it looked like while blocking:
Pattern is One-Piece Baby Kimono.  Back is at the top, sleeves are to the sides, and overlapping front pieces are toward the bottom of the picture.

I had my reservations, but after blocking (this was necessary to smooth out the stitches so I could see the edges better), I went ahead and started sewing up the sides using the mattress stitch, which is pretty magical - it brought the sides together in a seamless look.  But then I got to the sleeves, and you can see by the picture, they are jagged in a stair-step manner - this was how you tapered them, kimono-style.  As I sewed them together, I didn't like how it looked.  I tried several ways, and then examined other finished kimono projects on Ravelry, and saw that the sleeves all pretty much looked janky.  So I set this aside for a while and started on my next project, all the while ruminating on what to do about the kimono.

My next project was a crew-neck sweater, in a 6 months size.  I knitted it in fingering weight yarn because I figured the baby will still be so little that he'll be held and bundled up most of the time, so I didn't want to overheat the little guy with a thick sweater.  Here's the finished product:

 Pattern is Flax Light, yarn is Madelinetosh Sock, colorway is Methanol Blue (stripes are same yarn, but colorway is Stormborn).  I named this sweater Triple Stripe Flax Light.

This project trucked along fairly well for me; the pattern is a freebie from Tin Can Knits in their learn-to-knit series.  I had a little trouble in the beginning with the yoke and garter stitching on the shoulders:
Close up of my challenge area.

This was so tiny and it was hard for me to picture what I was doing; I was following the extremely detailed pattern, putting in stitch markers everywhere, but in the beginning, just after the neckline was finished, there were so many stitch markers placed to differentiate the pattern on the shoulder/sleeve versus the raglan increases (the diagonal lines in the picture above) that I would get off and knit when I should have purled so I had to rip back several times on this section until I got it right.  Once I finally got more of the shoulder and body area done and could see what I was doing, I stopped having that trouble.

I liked the yarn color but decided that the sweater needed a little extra pizzazz, so I threw in a few contrasting stripes using the yarn from the as-yet unfinished baby kimono.  I loved how this sweater turned out, especially the garter stitching going down the sleeve - it's just a simple sweater, but it's so cute.

Still not ready to tackle the kimono just yet, I decided to knit the bigger sweater.  I'd bought this yarn several years ago at the yarn shop in Navasota - I had no project in mind when I bought it, but I fell in love with the color so it had to come home with me.  When I looked through my yarn stash while deciding what to knit for Cary's baby, I saw the yarn and that was it.  I also had some adorable handmade buttons that went perfectly with the yarn, so I looked for a sweater pattern that incorporated a few buttons.  I set about knitting, and this is when I should have listened to my gut - the sweater was coming along nicely, but I kept thinking that it felt big.  Yes, I was knitting what was supposed to be a 1 - 2 year size, but it seemed really wide.  Still, I kept going, and finished the body:
Pattern is A Simple Baby Pullover - I do not recommend it based on the sizing.

Even though my gauge (amount of stitches per inch) was correct according to the pattern, this just wasn't working for me - it looked wide and short.  Luckily, because it was a heavier yarn, I'd only spent a few days knitting it, which made my decision to find a different pattern and start over pretty easy.  Also, this is why I knit with yarn that I love, because the entire process is a pleasure to me - from choosing the yarn to seeing how it knits up, to knitting itself - I wouldn't do this if I didn't like it.

Instead of pulling the sweater apart, rewinding the yarn, and starting over, I simply started the new sweater by pulling the yarn off of the bottom of the first one - I'm sure I'm not the first person to think of doing this, but I was pretty pleased with my idea.  You can see the difference in sizing here:
Both of these are supposed to be the same size, according to their patterns.

Anyway, I knit the new sweater and got to do the nifty technique for the button placket again - you go from knitting it flat to knitting it in the round once you've put in as many buttonholes as you want, which was fascinating to do!  Here's the finished sweater:
 
Pattern is Thom With a TH, yarn is WC Mercantile Kona 840 Superwash, colorway is Freshly Mowed Grass.  This yarn is hand dyed and I loved seeing the color shift as I knit with it.

Check out the buttons:
Handmade Fimo clay buttons!  I named this sweater Turtles in the Grass, for pretty obvious reasons.

After I finished this sweater, I was ready to tackle the baby kimono again.  I found a different pattern - a short-sleeved little kimono-type sweater, and what sold me on it was the adorable i-cord edging.  As with the green sweaters, I knit this one right from the original kimono.  I'm so glad I switched patterns, even though I'd basically already finished the kimono - I love how the new one came out about a million times more:
Pattern is Hello Kimono, yarn is Madelinetosh Sock, colorway is Stormborn, accent colorway is Methanol Blue.
This is a newborn size and it's so tiny!  I named this sweater Hello Baby Pumpkin Muffin.

I also had to knit a couple of hats, just because babies look so darn cute in hats.  I made one using my favorite pattern:
Pattern is Cable Baby, yarn is Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, colorway is Speedwell.  Every baby needs a bit of cashmere in their life...

I also knitted a hat using a new-to-me technique - colorwork via stranding!  I was pleased with how it turned out:
Pattern is Golden Pear, yarn is Madelinetosh DK, colorways are Arctic (blue), Tern (gray), and Tart (red).  I knew Brian would like this hat (and when he saw it at the baby shower, sure enough, he did) so I named it Yacht Club Pear, in honor of our ongoing joke about fancy sailing clubs.

Here's everything all together:
Sweet knitwear for a sweet baby boy!

I really enjoyed knitting everything; it was so fun, baby things are just adorable, and I didn't get frustrated, even when things seemed off.  The hardest part was not being able to ask my knitting guru Cary a question when I ran into a challenge...and not showing her pictures of what I was knitting, because I usually do!  Luckily I had both Diane and Debby to show pictures along the way - this stuff was just too cute to keep to myself!

19 comments:

  1. I think the green is my favorite! With all that knitting you do, you should move to a cooler so you can wear more things :D

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    1. Or at this point, I need to travel to cooler climates so I can wear my handknits!

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  2. Oh my gosh are these amazing! You really have a gift. If it were me, I'd poke my eyes out with the knitting needles out of frustration.

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    1. Thanks! I love knitting - if I got to the eye-poking stage, I wouldn't do it.

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  3. What no baby socks? LOL

    You are amazing. You need to sell your wares.

    If I am ever a grandmother, I will seek you out.

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    1. No baby socks because A) my joints were hurting enough with the shaping of the garments - tiny socks really would have been painful at that point; and B) they have a dog who is known for eating socks. Baby socks would be like special little appetizers for him, LOL.

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  4. Squeeeeee! I love those little baby things. That green sweater with the turtle button!! What a lucky baby to have you auntie Shelley!

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  5. O gosh I just love the little kimono! Do I see a new business in your future? Could you sell your stuff at the hospital gift shop?

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    1. I know, I love that little kimono, too.

      And no, even if I could crank out enough product to sell at the gift shop, I wouldn't do that - this is for pleasure. Knitting for profit would take the fun out of it.

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  6. Oh so fun to see all the finished pieces and hear the stories behind them! Re-knitting TWO sweaters? Amazing tenacity. And your finished pieces tell the story of your beautiful workmanship! I think my favorite is that color-stranded hat. Although the turtle sweater is darling. You will have to have a baby fashion show for us!

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    1. Good thing I like knitting, eh? But I'd much rather reknit something than have a finished product that I wasn't happy with.

      I have now made three of those color-stranded hats! :)

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  7. They turned out fantastic! I am impressed with your patience with restarting the kimono and sweater! About how many hours does something of that size take?

    Oh man, I can totally see getting frustrated with the small knits on the sweater - I felt that way when I attempted to make tiny little animals for my snister. You think it will be quick cause it's small, but it's actually slower!

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    1. Honestly, I can't remember how long it took me to knit the second kimono - less time than the first, I do know that!

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  8. Adorable! I love hearing about the process, too - so much work goes into it that is just a mystery to us non-knitters. Baby Pumpkin Muffin is going to look so snazzy in his custom-made knitwear!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed hearing about some of what goes into it - wasn't sure if I'd end up boring the non-knitters to tears with this post but obviously I didn't let that stop me from writing it, LOL.

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  9. Oh my goodness how adorable!!! You are so talented! All of these sweaters and hats are just precious!

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