Thursday, 29 April 2010


Today I have the last of the baby knits - for now, anyway. Little baby girl arrived safe and sound last week and I think I will wait a bit before I knit anything new till I can get a gauge of what size she will need in the future. There is also the matter of summer coming up too when she won't be needing a lot of knits unless lightweight cottons.

So today we have 'Chloe', a lovely stripey ruffled edged little cardi designed by Alana Dakos of Never Not knitting. The design only costs $4 and you can use it from sizes 0-3mths right up to age 10-12. It's also a top down seamless construction so very few ends to sew in - yay! It's extremely well written so you could use the basic structure of increases to knit your own variations - solids, intarsia pattern, lace, embroidered daisies:-) I've also seen longer variations too, with and without the frill, crocheted edgings...... I've got a few new ideas already!

There is no button band so you have to make sure you wrap the alternating colours up the side neatly  - as this will be visible on the inside edge. I pressed it carefully so you couldn't see it from the front at all. A light press with a damp cloth really helped the ruffle lie flat too. (all my yarn is 100% wool though so if you are using acrylic or another man made yarn, don't use a cloth at all, just steam it about an inch or so above without touching your knitting with the iron - she says from experience!)

There is no neckline edging either so your cast on row had best be neat as it becomes your top visible edge:-)) I used a long tail cast on but thats just my preference as it gives nice even edge with a bit of stretch. You can also go to the knitting help cast on videos if you want to have a litle play at learning new cast on methods. I love this site:)

The button loops are just a crocheted chain matching whatever colour stripe was in the right place and the buttons are more jolly daisies - which will match the little red booties for as long as they fit.

The only modification I made was to substitute DK yarn for the worsted weight stated. Worsted is meant to give you 18st - 4"/10cm and my DK was giving me 22st - 4"/10cm so for the 0-3mths, I just went up a size and its worked pretty well. The width is pretty close to size 1 and you can continue increasing every 6 rows at the end if you think the DK is running on the short side. I didn't find that a problem at this size although I'd be more careful if I was knitting a larger childs sizing.

Gosh, that turned into a bit of a pattern review! But best I write it all down now as I'll need to remember these things the next time I want to knit it:-)) Now I think I need something different on the needles - a lace shawl maybe? Like the lovely peacock shawl or Jane's lovely Luiza? I think I may have to dye up some yarn especially for both of these.

I'm also going to reaquaint myself with Vivian this afternoon. It's raining outside, no gardening today although the plants are loving all the water and are growing like weeds - I'm sure the weeds are too! But anyway, a perfect wet day to be sitting inside knitting and watching an old film or two, don't you think?

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Sunshiny garden

Hello, hello! Didn't mean to be away so long...... the sun came out and I started tackling the garden and, whoosh, time has disappeared - again! But things have been coming up in the garden, a little later than last year, but having a really sunny April has helped jumpstart a lot of the flowers - like these lovely tulips.

They are from a mixed bulb pack so I don't know the variety but they are lovely and bright! Of course, I did forget to plant them early enough so they grew rather later than probably everyone elses tulips but, hey! Same goes for all my daffs. I found the bulbs in a bag in the shed, um, the end of january and had to plant them in a rush. But they're all still flowering nicely albeit a couple of weeks after everyone elses:-)

Another lovely flowering plant in the garden is my pink rhododendron which is coming along nicely. It's only been in the garden a year but it seems pretty established in its little space now and looks happy catching all the sun.

One thing I love about the garden is surprise plants that grow. I haven't planted them and suddenly they are there! These lovely pinky purple flowers are one of them. When the leaves grew I decided to wait and see if it was a weed or a new surprise - yay! A surprise! I still have to look it up to see what it's called so if anyone knows, I'd be grateful. I do have lots of flower seeds to sew as well but I keep forgetting. Must put that on my to-do list pronto or it will soon be too late!

ETA: after checking, it's a drumstick primula - shame there's only one.....:-)

At least we are getting some more colour in the garden now. I do miss that in the winter and even early spring as I haven't got many crocuses or snowdrops planted as yet either so the garden can look a bit bare and drab. But that is a job for me to organise for next spring - remembering to plant them in time of course!

Have a lovely little stripey top finished to show you tomorrow now its all blocked and the buttons are on. Then I'm thinking of catching up on some dyeing and shawl knitting..... Back soon!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Little red shoes

At long last I've got around to finishing these little red shoes. The pattern is 'tiny shoes' by Ysolda and they really are tiny! They're only 6cm /2.5" long and very dinky! I'm hoping they will fit straight away but I may have to knit an outfit to match them as they are a lovely bold red.

The original pattern doesn't have ribbon but as the design has a little row of lacey holes around the top as a detail, I thought I could use them to thread the ribbon through. I stitched the bow in place too just for stability although it also makes it possible to gather the edge in too to emphasise the shaping.

The pattern is very cleverly designed using an I-cord for the strap and then the shoe shape developing from picking up stitches from the cord itself. It's much more unusual to knit the shoe from the top down but it flows very well and only needs a little garter stitch grafting on the sole and you are done.

I had a little difficulty choosing buttons for these as the back fastening loops were quite deep and seemed to leave too much of a bump from the inside and I don't want to be bruising little feet now, do I? So I ended up going for a lovely bright daisy and I'm thinking some lovely stitched daisy flowers as a hem on a little red dress could be lovely. I think I likey:-)

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Baby Jasmine lace cardigan

Today I can show you the little jasmine lace cardi all finished and I'm really thinking this might be nice adult size:-) But then I always think that of children's clothes! But I may tinker with the idea and see how it translates on a larger scale. But back to the photos!

Jasmine cardi on a little flowery spring dress. Even though it is a newborn size and a bit smaller than the lily bolero, it still fits with this 0-3mths dress. I must say I think I like this even better than Lily (Shhh, don't tell anyone:-))

And from the back, it looks like a little jumper/sweater - another idea! In fact, this would be a simple way to knit a jumper in the round and much quicker without all those seams. Although I managed to graft the shoulders, sew all the seams properly and sew on all the lace edgings, I still think they are a bit ugly and if I can make things seamless, it looks more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. I do understand that seams are meant to give more stability to a garment and I might well change my mind on an adult sized top but really there isn't that much here to stabilise:-) Maybe that's why the seams seem more bulky - they're out of proportion with the tiny sizing.

I kept to the given picot edging for the neckline and buttonhole band although it does have too much of a garter stitch feel for me. Well, it does at least tie in with the garter lace edging so it balances texturally but I think I should have thought out a smoother alternative to balance better with the wavy edging. (grumble, grumble....;-) You live and learn!

It does look better on the front though and I like the little pearly white flower-shaped buttons. For some reason, purple buttons just didn't work. Maybe purple overkill and it needed a bit of contrast to make it zing? Or maybe I don't have enough buttons to play around with:-)) Does that sound like a valid justification to get some more buttons? You know me and buttons -  I never have enough!

So, baby jasmine lace cardi all done. Now maybe it needs some little matching booties?!  - with some ribbon detailing running through a small lace edging? :-))

Monday, 12 April 2010

Baby Jasmine

Gosh, this last week has flown by! The sun came out and the gardening started and that was it! Woosh! Week gone! But, I have been squeezing in some knitting in the evenings so I do have a little progress to show you.

This is the baby Jasmine cardigan designed by Louisa Harding. The yarn is the lavendar Sirdar Snuggly DK so its very soft to the touch. So far I've knitted the stocking stitch parts and added the lace border to the main section. I'm still knitting the lace border for the sleeves and then I can attach them and finish with a decorative edging around the front edge and neckline with buttons as a fastening. It is so small though - very dinky:-) Even smaller than the lacy lily bolero.

I have made a few alterations with this pattern. I changed the lacy edging pattern as it just had too much garter stitch for my tastes. ( I think it has something to do with too much texture next to all that smooth stocking stitch;-) I substituted a lovely wavy lace design instead and although it doesn't look as if it has as much length as the original as you are knitting, it does stretch out when you block it.  I really wanted to get a little flare to the edging to mimic a little dress shape so I deliberately knitted the border longer to compensate. I sewed it up using a 1:1 stitch ratio - a straight edge would probably need more like a 1:2 - 1 stitch from the lace edge to 2 sts from the body (roughly!)

So far, I've finished one sleeve and should finish the other tonight. If I'm on the ball, I may even get the sleeves sewn onto the body too, ready for the neckline edging tomorrow. Then buttons and finished! Then I think I'll move away from lace and think about colour and stripes! A stripey dress? or a little jumper/sweater? I found a lovely pattern for some stripey dungarees too! I don't think it gave a newborn size though so maybe keep that one in reserve for a few months!

Thinking about using this self striping sock yarn - nice and bright isn't it? This is a bamboo mix so it's lovely and soft to the touch, perfect for that baby softness. It may not be quite so stripey on bigger items like a baby dress though but I'll test it out to see. Still no news on the baby front so I still have a little time left, although it can't be that much longer now, eh sis?:-)

Back soon with some lovely stripey goodness - if I don't get hijacked by the garden again!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Lily cardi finished

Quick update for you, the Lily cardi is all finished! It does look more complete now it has a border. I spent ages trying out different edging patterns till I got one that looked good with this style - I ended up using a little scalloped shell pattern all the way around the edge and cuffs. I'm still deciding whether it needs a fastening like a button or maybe ribbons. Bolero tops never seem to stay in place without them so I think I may try out both to see which looks best without spoiling the look of the edge detail.

I've started another pair of booties as I thought the first ones rather big in size for little newborn feet:-) even though I followed the pattern for 0-3 mths and used the same yarn weight and needle size. The new pattern I'm using seems to be giving a much smaller shoe so I'm going with that for now and see how it turns out. They knit up pretty fast too so hopefully some more pics soon. Anyway, a girl can't have too many shoes! Maybe that is starting her off a bit too early;-)) although she may well grow out of them soon enough.

I'm hoping that this top will last a good few months as I'd imagine it will fit maybe up to 6 months? at least 3. By then I'll have knitted a good few more things I'm thinking:-))

Righty-ho, back to knitting pair of booties no 2:-) Back soon and have a good Easter!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Baby Knitting progress....

Some baby knitting progress for you. A lot has been going on unfinished behind the scenes over the last few days but now I have managed to snap a few pics for you to see. Just as well I took advantage of the sun as the heavens opened just after I finished and we are back to dull, heavy rain forecast for the whole weekend - sigh! Not quite the start to April I was hoping for weatherwise. But on to the knitting!

First pic is the lovely baby booties - pattern is Saartje's booties. These were a very quick knit and with very simple shaping, you sew these together into booties. I love the crossed strap detailing and I got a chance to use those lovely green apple buttons I've been saving too. I used the fairytale DK 100% wool for these for a sturdier and more durable knit -I'm hoping. The colours were chosen to match a  little dress I've already bought and also to match the lily cardigan I'm knitting.

Progress on the lily cardigan so far.....

This little bolero styled cardigan is based on a magazine pattern but I have modified it heavily substituting their stripes for a lacy pattern and dumping the original frilly edging. So far, I have sewn all the seams and now need to choose an edging that suits this style. I'm thinking a little crocheted scalloped edge all the way around and then a nice button to finish.

I also modified the pattern to knit the body in the round rather than have side seams - as you can see from the blocked pieces. I only had to sew the top seams and inset the sleeves. In theory if this were a solid piece of knitting, this works well but it also means I couldn't mirror the lace patterning for the two front panels so they don't look as symetrically pleasing as I would have wanted.  But maybe it's not too noticeable to everyone else and you know how much of a perfectionist I am!

The lace pattern is a quatrefoil eyelet pattern which is nice and soft, not too lacy and just enough detailing for a solid shape. I stretched this out for the photo so you could see the pattern better but I did relax it a bit when blocking to the right garment measurements, don't worry!! I had fears of stretching this too big and ending up with  6-12months size:-) Lace is so stretchy and I had to remind myself this shouldn't be stretched as much as a lace shawl - habit!

So minus the edging for now, this is what the cardi will look like with the little dress. Now add the booties - all a matching set!

Now, off to finish the edging and then plan a dress or two.....:-)


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