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Posts Tagged ‘baby sweater’

Progress is continuing on the Feelin’ Groovy baby sweater. For a bit, I dipped into the realm of Masochistic Designing regarding how to attach the faux pocket tops to the front of the sweater. It had almost become existential angst until I decided to try a three-needle join. A three-needle join is exactly like a three-needle bind off except the bind off move isn’t performed. The three-needle join worked like a charm. I nearly spent a full 15 minutes in a blissful state of accomplishment until I started worrying about whether the faux pocket tops were the right distance apart. That led to worrying about whether they were positioned in the right places vertically. The gnawing question: Were they where pockets should be? Or once the remaining top of the sweater was completed would they look misplaced? Would the entire thing need ripping back to reposition them? And then the ultimate existential question: Why did I design this with pockets anyway? Hence the rest of the night was spent in masochistic design mode. After every row I’d lay out the front to see if the faux pockets looked funny.

With the decreases for the armholes complete it was time to add to my anxiety turn to inserting the button placket. The placket is normally in the middle of the garment. Though I had found and marked the middle stitches in order to place the faux pockets at the appropriate distance apart, I now worried that once the placket was created it would make the pocket placements look off. Thankfully, I realized that I was getting ahead of myself. My most immediate worry need was to remember which side the buttons go on for a girl’s sweater. The placket couldn’t be started without knowing this first.

Looking back, perhaps the easiest way of solving that little dilemma was to just ask Google. Instead, I turned to my ever expanding library of knitting books trying to remember which one contained the information I needed. I knew I read it in one of them. I remembered I even thought of marking the page with a sticky note that protruded from the book and said “button placement info” on it. For some reason, however, I never did that.

Let’s just say the search was lengthy. I scanned through my pattern collection instead looking for a cardigan that would show the side the buttons go on. Armed with that information it was back to knitting…more or less.

Before I could pick up the needles again, I needed to know the distance between each buttonhole. I remembered the book that should have had the “button placement info” tab sticking out of it gave the distances, but I wasn’t going back upstairs to look through everything again when I couldn’t find it the first time. I put the knitting down and called it a night.

Next time I will write about button placement and how to figure it all out.

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knit baby sweater

The back of the Feelin’ Groovy baby sweater is complete. I am working on the front, at the point where the pockets would be inset if I were creating real pockets. I’ve spent weeks thinking about and working with these pockets. Who knew pockets could be such a time consuming, weighty issue? I’ve dithered back and forth over type, size, placement, technique, on and on. As I studied the picture I drew, I finally saw that it wasn’t the pocket that was so important. It was the look of the outside trim that broke up the expanse of turquoise fabric.

Fair enough. So I jettisoned the actual pocket for just the trim. How to attach the knitted trim is what I am wrestling with now. To knit it directly into the sweater would be too much for most knitters. Familiarity with intarsia and stranded color work is a bit much to expect. Creating the trim separately on two double pointed needles is a much easier knit because they are only dealing with stranded color work.
In the picture the two trims are on two double pointed needles. The best way to place them onto the Front is what I am dithering over now.

It’s one thing to draw up a sweater design and another thing entirely to execute it. In the drawing stage I’m not thinking about how to execute the design. I am just going for a certain look. After it’s drawn I think about how to actually create it with yarn and needles. While as the designer I may be willing and able to work more complicated knitting techniques to get the look I want, regular knitters might find these techniques off-putting. Thus the tug of war between design idea and actual 3-D creation. Make it simple but not boringly so. Spice it up with a little interesting technique but avoid over complicated things.

The stranded color work at the hems, cuffs and neck are spicy enough for most knitters. Add shaping for torso, arm and neckline, and throw in a placket and that’s about the limit.

The weather continues to march into Spring. The frog is still alive in his abode. For one little frog he has quite the appetite. I’ve told The Skipper that this is the last frog we’re raising. If he brings in anymore tadpoles they are going right back outside. Yarn Rascal is delighted with having the frog indoors. At night he sits for hours in front of the tank watching and talking to it. When it moves he gets all wiggly squiggly. I’ll get all excited when I place the frog outside in the pond.

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The Back of the Feelin’ Groovy baby sweater is almost done. It became the Back when I reached the armholes and still had not settled the debate in my head as to the type of neckline.
A large part of me still wants to go with the mandarin collar, even though the question has been raised as to whether a collar that stands up on the neck would be itchy. Of all the reasons against using this type collar that one never crossed my mind because if I am knitting a baby item I am using the softest yarn available.

I have a very sensitive neck when it comes to fabric touching it. So sensitive in fact that I have spent my life carefully cutting off the tags they put on clothes because they bother me. Yet I have never had an issue draping a knitted shawl or scarf around my neck because I use the softest yarn out there. When I am designing baby clothes I use yarns that are soft and gentle. Some are specifically made for baby clothes such as Sublime’s Baby Cashmere Merino Silk, or the Debbie Bliss line of baby yarns. If I am not using specific baby yarn I look for one that is made up of alpaca, merino, cashmere, silk, any combination that is soft enough not to irritate little necks. The yarn I’m using for Feelin’ Groovy is made of alpaca. I love the drape, the way it knits, the way it looks when it gets worn, and I love its softness. I could wear it around my neck all day.

One of the serious drawbacks in designing this sweater with a mandarin collar is it limits the size range. Babies from newborn to 6 months have no necks. So sizes 3 months, 6 months and even 9 months are out. While a 9 month old does show neck development, it is not enough to comfortably wear a mandarin collar. Thus I limited the sizes to 12 months, 18 months, and 2 years. I am toying with the idea of adding a 4 year old size, but I am not sure yet.

Altering the neckline to a collar that lays flat would give me the 3 month to 2 year range I like to design for. I have made a number of sketches with alternative necklines and while a flat rounded neck would look nice, it throws off the placket I had planned. Frankly, without the placket and its buttons the design just isn’t the same. It loses the child-like, innocent, playful feelings I want to convey. I like my designs to convey some emotions and I specifically put colors, shapes, and fabric together to achieve those things.

I still have time to worry over the collar. I’ll be starting the Front tomorrow. By the time I hit the start of the armhole I hope to have put the issue to rest.

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Running around the internet this morning and this caught my eye.

barbie

Yes, Barbie. Only this time the toy company is releasing more realistic versions of the icon. But what truly got my attention was not the announcement that the doll may have a more realistic figure, but the dress the red haired doll second from the right is wearing. Recognize those colors?

feelin groovy colors

The colors look great on a red head. Who’d have thought?

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I spent the weekend thinking about and working on the baby sweater Feelin’ Groovy. One of the changes I made was to rearrange the colors. A color is affected by the other colors around it, as evidenced in the picture below.

feelin groovy colors

Placing the lime green and hot pink next to each other sapped the life out of each color. Separating them with the dark turquoise gave them back their zip. This is the new edging / hem for the sweater. The knitting is a combination of slip stitch and stranding. I like the way each color is now distinct and vibrant. The checkered combination will go on the cuffs and around the neckline.

I am rethinking and redrawing the neckline, not sure which I will go with yet. First I need to get the duplicate stitch motif I plan to use charted and positioned on the body of the sweater to get a better idea of what will look best.

Because this sweater is influenced by the 1960s I did some research on which motif represented the 60s. I looked at fashion, design, and posters from the era. Three shapes seemed to most define the time: a flower, the peace symbol, and a dove sitting on the neck of a guitar. The latter was widely used in posters for Woodstock.

I immediately threw out knitting techniques such as stranding or intarsia for creating the motif opting for duplicate stitch instead. After much consideration, I decided on a flower as the representation of the era.

For now, the body of the sweater is being knit in Stockinette Stitch. My next decision is whether to use the yarn in duplicate stitch or use DMC Cotton Thread in a nice glossy color for the flowers.

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Today is Yarn Rascal’s third birthday and I want to wish him a happy birthday. Later today the yarn vault will be wide open and he can play among the yarns for a little while under my watchful eye.

The snow has arrived. And as always, from my big mouth to the ears of powers-that-be, we are getting a lot more than expected. So much for the storm hugging the New York City area. I haven’t had time to dig out the car and take it for a test drive as I’ve been busy shoveling for Yarn Rascal. He gets very excited when it snows so this is like an extra birthday present for him. He goes out as a dog and comes back in as a large snowball with four little legs.

Work has begun on the Feeling’ Groovy baby sweater. Not actual knitting, but a review of the numbers and the selection of technique for the color work. Reading about facings and deciding whether they will be knitted on or sewn on using grosgrain ribbon is today’s goal. I don’t like the idea of the ribbon in the neck area for a number of reasons, but mostly because it will lack the stretch the area needs. The facing must be decided before I start to knit.

Once again, I’d like to say Happy Birthday Little One. I couldn’t do this cancer thing without you, my little angel.

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Baby Sweater Redux

At some point tomorrow we’re suppose to get snow. About 3 to 6″ (8 to 15 cm) with the bulk of the storm staying east of us. If we get 6″ (15) cm it will be a good time to test out the new car and see how it handles both in plowed and unplowed snow. My last one went in anything. It particularly did well in deep unplowed snow. We’ll see what the talking car does in a pittance of snow.

On the knitting front, the Rock Island Shawl has been a bad boy. As of today it is being put in a time out so it can think over its atrocities. I only have 24 rows of lace to knit over a little less than 300 stitches and it can’t seem to get its act together.

Instead I will work on the second version of Ming Blue which I now call Feelin’ Groovy.

girl's smock 001

This is how it looked before I took the scissors to it. Since then I rethought and will rework the color work borders. Colors are affected by the colors next to them. The lime green immediately next to the pink muddied the vibrancy of the pink color. Inserting a turquoise stitch between the two gives them back their individual vibrancy.

The patch pockets are gone. When was the last time anyone saw a baby walking around with its hands in its pockets? The knitted on facings at cuffs, hem and neck is also jettisoned. If a facing is needed it will be a satin trim.

The Nehru / mandarin collar is staying, though I may tweak the numbers. The sleeves will be reworked to make them tapered rather than lantern in shape.

I am undecided about the button placket and whether I should do away with it, substituting frog closures instead. Or keep it and just rework a different pattern placket. I am also undecided about the pattern for the body of the sweater. Do I keep it as is or make it simple st st? This is particularly thorny because the silhouette calls for steady decreases on each side from hem to chest. Since it seems a number of knitters do not understand how to decrease while keeping in pattern, I’d have to write it  out for them. This makes the pattern much longer than what it needs to be. There must be a compromise here that I haven’t figured out yet.

 

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