Archive for the ‘baby sweater design’ Category

Much to my dismay, the “getting in shape” part of life continues. Should I live through it, I promise myself never to fall “out of shape” again.

Saturday morning began with a solid wasp sting to my right Achilles tendon. The villain was a yellow jacket. While they have nasty dispositions, yellow jackets are beneficial to the garden eco system, which is the only reason why I don’t aggressively eradicate every one of the little terrors. I was “getting in shape” when I came across it, specifically moved out of its way only to have it unknowingly stalk me and sting me when I paused for breath. The result was the eco system has one less yellow jacket.

Limping home, accompanied by the standard cloud of bugs swirling around my head, didn’t improve my mood. When I got home, I reached for an ice pack and Benedryl (yes I am allergic to wasp stings), settled myself in the chair with my “relaxing” knitting and waited for the ice and Benedryl to work.

On the last row of the stockinette part of the shawl I realized the number of stitches called for could in no way be attained by keeping in pattern. Put aside the yarn and needles, get the pencil, get the paper, get the calculator. I had to tech edit the whole pattern. Mistakes were found. The pattern was bought on Ravelry. I looked through the notes other knitters made. All alluded to mistakes and assumed the wrong was on them and not the pattern. The quandary I find myself in is whether to PM the designer and tell her of the mistakes and suggest how she can fix them privately or just point them out and give the fix for them in my project notes. What would you do? For me, I would want the PM. However, I don’t want to be stepping over anyone’s boundaries.

On the other knitting front, The Skipper’s sock is calling me to finish it. A small yarn sacrifice is scheduled for this afternoon. Yarn Rascal will be besides himself with joy.

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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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