Posts Tagged ‘collar’

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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…Of wounden gold, she offered, to honor him, arm-jewels twain, corselet and rings, and of collars the noblest that ever I knew the earth around.


The desire for collars must go far back in human evolution because for the life of me, I do not understand why designers continue to construct collars on baby sweaters for babies that are 3 to 6 months old. No matter how sweet and rounded the collars, 3 to 6 month olds do not have necks.  There is little separation between round head and body. Therefore, the collars end up in baby’s face, up around it ears, and uncomfortably bolstered beneath the baby at the base of its skull when it is lying down.  Babies are in lying positions a lot at those ages.

The neck starts to form as a distinct part separating the head from the body at around 9 months. At 12 months, the neck clearly separates the head from the body. So why do designers continue to size patterns with collars for 3 to 6 month olds? I don’t know. However, I can tell you the photographs that go with these sweaters show them on children much older than 3 or 6 months, children with well-defined necks and heads.

I think making a pattern available in smaller sizes when it is clearly meant for the older baby is unfair to the novice and semi-experienced knitter who wants to feel great when he/she sees his/her sweater on the baby.  It is really a matter of trust. When a knitter buys a pattern, he/she trusts that the designer is telling the truth: His/her knitted effort will look and fit like the picture of the project.  The best advice I can give the novice and semi-experienced knitter is if you are looking to knit for a 3 or 6 month old, look for sweaters with the following necklines:  round neck with shoulder fastening, v-neck, or square neck with/without shoulder fastening.  Cardigans are great projects for all size babies.

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