Archive for the ‘baby sweater design’ Category

Sometimes knitted garments turn out just as I envisioned them and it is such a joy when that happens. Case in point is the Charleston Baby Sweater and Hat set. It looks just like what I had in mind.

Charleston Baby Sweater.

Charleston Baby Sweater.

I love the texture of this sweater. The way the vertical lines and the horizontal wavy lines interact as a unified whole. Believe it or not the inspiration was Art Deco architecture combined with the style of 1920s bed jackets worn by women. The hat, with the ribbon positioned at the side of the head is reminiscent of the Cloche worn in that era.

Charleston Baby Sweater and Hat Set

Charleston Baby Sweater and Hat Set

Since my inspiration was the 1920s, I wanted the photographs to look like 1920 photos. After “playing” around with the camera—truth is error upon error—I unexpectedly but pleasingly stumbled upon just the way I wanted the photos to look. Something wrong gone right doesn’t often happen to me. I was pleased as a chipmunk with a cache of nuts for the winter.

Charleston Baby Hat

Charleston Baby Hat

The pattern as a set or as separate pieces is up for sale on Ravelry.

The sizes are 3 mos (6 mos, 12 mos, 18, mos and 24 mos). Made in fingering weight yarn it is perfect for cool days and nights as well as air-conditioned environments.

To purchase the pattern as a set .

To purchase the sweater only

To purchase the hat only

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So much is going on that it will take more than one post to tell it all. But first up, a little aside. Yarn Rascal won another Golden Paw Award!


Along with Mom not doing well, Yarn Rascal’s decided, for some unknown but worrisome reason, that he can’t eat his food out of his dish without being hand fed by me with a spoon. Even then, it is reluctant eating. However, the Little Devil Darling had no problem chomping down this:

Spool of Thread Yarn Rascalized

The plastic parts of a spool of navy blue thread which I mistakenly left on the end table after sewing on the buttons to my two newest baby sweaters.

baby hoodie fs 1

Baby Sweater Collar LS

While I am waiting to see what’s up with my mother’s condition, I am also nervously awaiting complications in Yarn Rascal digestive tract from eating the plastic spool. Oh how I wish spools were still made of wood!

In the meanwhile this picture I found on the internet sums up exactly how I feel.



It’s my next knitting project.

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The new baby boy sweater I am working on is challenging.

First, the size range is large: 3 mos to 8 years old. A pattern that looks good on a baby might not look appropriate on an 8 year old boy. And the reverse of that is true too.

Second, the sweater gives the knitter two choices: it can be knit as a hoodie or a cardigan with a collar. The hood is a problem. I am not happy with the construction choice. I don’t like hoods that are pointy, unless I am intentionally designing a Little Red Riding Hood look. I am also uncomfortable with the hood widths I’ve calculated.

But it’s more than just the hood widths. It’s other calculations: neck, shoulder width, wrist, total length. The only numbers I’m comfortable with are the ones for armhole and upper arm width. I’ve checked my resources, checked again, and rechecked and my numbers are appropriate for the sizes. I’ve graphed this sweater more times than a NASA scientist graphs information from the Mars Rovers. The smallest size seems too small and the largest seems to large. Tomorrow I plan to check all my resources again. Perhaps making a separate schematic for each size will help me pinpoint where my unease is coming from. But the sweater won’t see the light of day as long as I am this uncomfortable with it.

When the boy sweater is finished I start on the girl’s sweater, same size range, same hood / collar options. In the meanwhile, I have this desperate need to knit something someone else designed just for relaxation. A sock, small shawl. A project where I can follow the pattern and just enjoy the knitting. I miss that type of knitting.

Sunday I took a break from it all and went over to my house to see how the painting work was coming. I was happy with everything I saw. I got in my car and went to back out the steep driveway, a task I’ve done many, many times and for some reason this time my car didn’t hold as I moved my foot from brake to gas pedal. Normally, the car is steady and doesn’t roll forward when I’ve got it in reverse. Which really should have been a clue for me to make sure I was in reverse and not in drive. Instead, I moved my left foot to the brake, and put my right foot on the gas pedal so I could get some backward momentum going before I hit the garage door. Ease off the break while putting the pedal to the metal and whoosh, bam, screech, crunch. The car was in drive not in reverse. Crashed right into the garage door. I wasn’t hurt. The car got a little chip in its hood paint. The garage door? I’m going to need a new one. The whole event was a humbling experience. I’ve seen tons of news reports where people think the car is in gear to go one way and instead it’s in gear to go the opposite way and I’ve always made fun of them. How could someone be so lame? Now I know.

When my father heard of my little crash he said next time I get in my car to go anywhere let him know so he can stay off the roads. ha ha ha. I’m surrounded by jokers.

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Finally it’s time to start the decreases on the raglan sleeves for the imaginary baby sweater. A short recap. I increased from 34 stitches to 40 stitches (widest part of sleeve in schematic below) over 6.5″ (16.5) cm or 48 rows only 24 of which were RS rows and can be used as increase rows.

raglsn sleeve schematic

Now I need to decrease 40 sts to 6 sts over 4″ (10) cm or 30 rows of which only half, 15, are RS rows. All these numbers are now etched in granite, so to speak, because my imaginary sweater front and back have been completed, at least in my mind. The first thing I naturally want to do is panic. I can’t get 40 sts to 6 sts in 15 rows. Deep breaths, make a cup of tea.

Next grab a pencil, calculator and paper. It’s time for Knitting Math. The first problem I need to solve to calm my brain is make a dent in that number 40. The panicky little voice in my head keeps circling around the fact that 40 is so much larger than the 15 rows I have available for decreases. To ease it, I am going to take the 6 sts that will be left after all the decreases are done and subtract them from the 40. I now have 34 sts. The panic in the little voice goes down a notch.

The next number I need to subtract from that group of 34 sts is the number of stitches I originally bound off at the same point on the sweater body. My initial bind offs were two sts each side. 2 + 2 = 4. So 34 – 4 = 30. The panicky little voice disappears. 30 and 15 are numbers that play nicely together.

In order to evenly space the decreases along these rows I divide the number of RS rows available for decreases by the number of decreases. To find the number of decreases I need to divided the 30 sts by 2. Why 2? Because I am going to decrease 1 st at each end of the needle, which means each RS row I’ll be offing 2 sts. So 30 divided by 2 = 15.

To find the rate of evenly spaced decreases I divide the 15 RS rows by the 15 decreases and I get 1. That means I will decrease 1 st each end of needle every RS row 1 until 6 sts remain.

The knitting math I used to figure out the numbers on the baby sweater is the same math I would use on an adult sweater. Increases and decreases and the math that goes with them is the same whether it is for a wee one or an adult.

Here’s a tip I find helpful when making sweaters for a specific individual. Once I get the correct sizing I make a general schematic and plug in the numbers for the widths and lengths of the body and sleeves. I then file it. The next time I make a sweater for that individual, whether creating it from scratch or from a pattern I take out the file. Then all I need do is figure how many stitches and how many rows to get the widths and lengths I want. Once I know the math, I can adapt any pattern I want and so can you.

I hope this information helps. Have a good weekend.

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In the last post the sleeves of the sweater were behaving nicely. Below, the sleeve schematic for easy referral.

raglsn sleeve schematic

The beauty in the raglan design is, naturally, the raglans themselves. The raglans are the sloping armhole sides on the body (four in all) and the sloping sides of the sleeves as they decrease to the 1″ (2.5) cm top. The slopes are the focal point. They need to be neatly joined and to do that they need to be made correctly.

The raglan extends from under the arm up to the collar bone. It’s location and length place it in a prominent position. Sweatshirts often use this design.

The first suggestion for a neat raglan is to calculate for 2 selvedge stitches for each raglan including sleeves. One stitch on each side will be lost in seaming, which will leave one stitch on one side and one on the other making a nice raglan slope.

This next piece of advice is more like a rule than a suggestion. Raglan decreases and increases only occur on RS rows. All decreases and increases occur after knitting the 2 selvedge stitches at the beginning of a row and before working the 2 selvedge stitches at the end of a row. The decrease at the beginning of a row is an SSK, at the end it’s K2tog.

For the 6 month sleeve the cast on was 34 sts. Referring to the schematic, I need to increase to 40 sts. That’s 6 sts to be added. I need to add them while working the first 6.5″ (16.5) cm of the sleeve or 48 rows. But, I don’t really have 48 rows to chose from. Increasing on RS rows only means I have 24 RS rows or half the total number of rows, on which I can increase. Since the increases are worked in pairs (one each end of needle) I only need increase 3 times, or on 3 RS rows. While the numbers may seem small and insignificant, sloppy work in baby garments begets sloppy work in adult garments. As a designer and tech editor I treat baby garments with the same mathematical respect and eye for detail as I would an adult garment. If I am going to take the time to create something by hand I am going to do it to the best of my ability and knowledge.

Sleeve increases should gradually occur in a visually pleasing taper. To achieve this I divide the number of rows I have available for increases by the number of rows I need to perform an increase on. 24 divided by 3 = 8. Increase one st each end of needle on every 8th row 3 times. So far so good.

Now that I have the 40 sts needed it is time to shape the raglan by decreasing. I just reach the pinnacle and now I have to figure out how to come down. That’s why I like knitting. It is so much like life.

Friday, hiking back down Raglan Mountain.

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What rows are to length so stitches are to width. The width of a garment is measured in stitches in addition to inches and centimeters. The stitches per inch (2.5) cm for my imaginary raglan sweater are 5.5. Of course there can’t be a half stitch. Like rows, in reality I knit an entire row or I don’t. Same with a stitch. I need to knit a whole stitch, but the universe likes to play with me.

raglsn sleeve schematic

Above is the schematic of the imaginary raglan sleeve that includes rows, stitches, lengths, and widths. It’s the way my schematics look when all the information I need is filled in. The smallest size on this schematic is 6 months, then 12 months, then 18 months. I’m going to concentrate on the numbers for the 6 month old sleeve.

After drawing the sleeve shape, there are two items I can put on the schematic right away for they will not change. The short top of the raglan sleeve measures 1″ (2.5) cm which in math terms comes out to 5.5 sts. But I’ve been here before with the non-existent half sts so I know the number needs to be rounded up or down. What I know about that little 1″ top helps me make this decision. I know that half the sts in that 1″ become part of the front neck and half become part of the back neck. Since I try not to encourage migraines, I want an even number, a number easily divisible by 2.

Now this is a baby sweater. A baby’s head is much bigger than the body and I want to fit the sweater over that 17″ head. I also don’t want a tight fitting neckline on an infant. So I want the neck opening to be as large as I can make it while still fitting properly on the upper body of the baby. At this point it helps to have a magic wand that can be waved over the pattern and poof! the proper numbers appear. Unfortunately I don’t own one of those so it’s back to my calculator and my knowledge of baby measurements and how certain styles are suppose to fit. In the end, I choose to round up and make this 1″ out of 6 sts. It’s easily divisible by two. I pencil in the 1″ (2.5) cm and put 6 sts near the short top.

Next up is the sleeve width at the wrist. I refer to my schematic range charts located here. The wrist width for this size goes from 5.25″ / (13.5) cm to 5.5″ / (14) cm. I select a width size of 6 inches / 15cm at the wrist. That’s a half inch (1.25) cm larger than the biggest suggested wrist size, which is okay here. The wrist area is worked in ribbing. It will pull in.

Now I need to know how many stitches to cast on for the wrist. I multiply width by stitch gauge: 6″ x 5.5sts =33 sts for cast on. Since it is easier to work with even numbers I increase the cast on by one 1 to 34 sts. So I will work in 1 X 1 ribbing for 1″ / 2.5 cm or 8 rows. (Remember we increased the rib row of the sweater body to 8 rows also).

Since the next part deals with the raglans and other migraine triggers, I think I’ll end here while everything looks positive.

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Lengths are important figures. They define the size of the armhole and the vertical span of the garment. They tell at what intervals to start and stop increases or decreases for bust and waist shaping, when to start neckline shaping, and how long sleeves should be. In addition to being measured in inches and centimeters, length is most importantly measured in rows by designers and tech editors. Yet knitters only think in terms of inches and centimeters when it comes to length. This is where the problem lies for knitters: length must be thought of in rows.

The marriage between me and my tape measure begins with the words, “Cont in patt until piece measures…” and I answer “I will.” And I do. I knit and then measure. Knit some more. Measure. Knit more. Measure. At this point the feeling I will never reach the required measurement settles over me. I am stressing. This is the reason why the word tension substitutes so nicely for the word gauge. With less than a quarter of an inch to go, infinitesimally less than 1 centimeter, I knit like mad. Stop. Measure. And still I need to knit one more maybe two more rows. Not until I reach the big UNTIL can the “death do ye part” happen where I am free…sort of…until “Cont in patt…” shows up again and restarts the ceremony.

As a designer and tech editor, I go through none of that angst. Why? Because I am dealing with rows. I have transferred all the inches and centimeter measurements into rows. No guess work on whether I am pulling the piece too much just to have it finally reach the “until” mark, no constant start and stop to measure, no anxiety build up till I’m about to scream.

While the number of rows per inch is important to all garments it is especially essential to the Raglan style. All four raglans must have the exact same number of rows in them to achieve a neat looking garment.

raglan sweater schematic

Above is my working schematic for an imaginary raglan baby sweater. I like to do my rough schematics by hand because it is easier for me to quickly change things as needed. When it is clear that the pattern will work, I’ll aggravate myself drawing it by computer.

In order to divorce my tape measure and reduce anxiety (I always say I knit for pleasure and relaxation) the first thing I need to do is approach the pattern like a designer or tech editor. I take the schematic and the row gauge (tension), a piece of paper, a pencil and a calculator (a cup of tea helps) and sitting in a comfortable chair I do the math.

The row gauge on this schematic is 7.5 rows per inch (2.5) cm. Lovely. Half rows in knitting don’t occur. It’s whole rows only. Note to self: I’ll be rounding off.

The next thing I look at are the measurements for the size I am interested in knitting. The schematic tells me it covers 3 sizes: 6, 12, 18 months. I’m choosing the 6 month one which is the smallest size.

The sweater is constructed bottom up so I’ll be starting at the ribbing. The length of the ribbing is one inch (2.5) cm. I know that the gauge (tension) is 7.5 rows per inch. I am already screwed.

Uhhhhh, not really.

I need to round.

Check written instructions. First side row is RS row. Body pattern begins on a RS row. Okay, using fingers count out RS, WS rows, 6th row is my thumb and a WS, 7th is RS—if I end it here the next row is WS. No good, body patt has to start RS so I can end it with either the 6th or 8th row.

Now it depends on a number of things, including the body patt whether I will end it one row short or long of 7 rows. But for this demo, I am going to work in ribbing for 8 rows. I make a note of this on my own little schematic.

The body patt is worked for 6″ (15) cm for the 6 month size before raglan shaping starts. 7.5 times 6″ gives me 45 rows. Glance at written pattern. Does raglan shaping begin with RS or WS row? It begins on RS row. So my 6″ will have to end with a WS row which means an even number. 45 is not an even number. Do I round up or down? Again this depends, but I rounded up once and I am going to do it again.

Remember babies grow faster lengthwise. A little long, and baby has more time to grow into it. I am going to work the body pattern for 46 rows. I make a note of this on my schematic.

The dreaded raglan shaping (Whoopeee!) My size is 4″ (10) cm. 7.5 times 4″ = 30. (YESSSSSSS!) Even number no rounding needed, do the Snoopy Happy Dance.

Now I need to check to see how different my number is from their number. For that I look at the measurement for the entire piece. For the size I am making it is 11″ (28) cm. 7.5 times 11 = 82.5 rows. Now I add up the number of rows I actually plan to work. 8 + 46 + 30 = 84 rows. Divide 84 rows by 7.5 = 11.2″. I am not far off at all. I am going with my row numbers. I have successfully divorced my tape measure!

This is really quite easy. If for some reason I can’t get the pattern’s called for row gauge, I substitute my row gauge and doing the same figuring I find how much I need to knit for the size I select. It doesn’t get much better than this.

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