Monday, January 14, 2008

Knitting? Are You Kidding?

I know. You have to go have a laydown now that I have actually posted about actual knitting.

Go on. I'll wait.

(hmmm...gotta find my US8 dpns. The kid is growing and the sweater isn't...)

Okay, ready?

So, it has appeared on the blog, but improperly noted: Baby Sweater Uno.

It is Stripz, a Minnowknits pattern started way back before the Great Blogging Hiatus of Summer '07. I bought the Manos Cotton Stria from Springwater Fiber back in December '05, just after I learned how to knit.

It was going to be a sweater for Slim, but it marinated in the stash for so long, I was worried I wouldn't have enough yarn for the 2-year-old size. (I probably would have. Especially since I didn't end up making the hat.)

(ETA: The above awesome hat was made by KnittinSis after a Mosaic Knitting class she took. Slim has a companion hat that also needs a blog post. They are truly adorable. Perhaps she should get a B.L.O.G. so she herself can share her knit projects??? hint.hint.)

I made some modifications to the sweater pattern, including knitting the sleeves in the round. I didn't quite make it long enough, but it's okay. I found some cute as a button (ha!ha!) train buttons, and I'm pleased with how this turned out, except for one, small, important detail:

It's handwash.

AAAAUUUGGGHH. I think there is still some smushed banana in the sleeve that the SOAK hasn't removed.

When I bought the pattern, newbie that I was, I didn't know anything about substituting, and I went blindly with the recommended yarn. Handwash yarn for a toddler sweater is a little nutty if you ask me.

HOWEVER, apparently not nutty enough for me to avoid repeating in Baby Sweater Dos:

Pardon the crappy flash photo, but I am both proud and embarrassed by Baby Sweater Dos, made out of (handwash, drat!) Patons Classic Wool in green and army camo.

The pros:
1. I made it from Elizabeth Zimmermann's "Knitting Without Tears" recipe for a basic raglan sweater. I felt like a capital "K" Knitter working the details out by myself based on her very sensible recipe of gauge and percentages.
2. Despite the yarn being handwash-only, the stitch definition is great and it is not pilling as much as I thought it would. Plus, what beats a sweater made out of $10 worth of yarn?
3. When I first read about EZ's raglan sweater, the idea for this two-color pullover popped into my head and would not leave. When the going got rough (see the cons), I did not give up the vision and I made it work. Whoo-hoo, Determination!
4. The kid wears it. But not the one pictured above.

The cons:
1. That two-color raglan pullover idea I had? Yeah, in the round? Let's dissect that a bit: Does the wiseass in the back know what exactly happens to the sleeve yarn when you get done knitting a row of the sleeve in the round? Let's just put it this way, it doesn't work. And yes, it took me actually knitting it to figure that out. So I cursed a little (or a lot), and worked it out. I split the front and back and knit them flat, finished the arms separately and then seamed them together. And it worked!!
2. I didn't decrease down as much as I wish I would have, so it's more of a boatneck than a crewneck. But since my kids have big heads, it's all good.
3. Apparently, I either cannot (did not?!) measure or the kid is growing faster than I can knit. Since Baby Sweater Uno was made for the Lion, this one was supposed to fit Slim. Actually, I blame his father. He's got the Cap'n's freakishly long arms.

But that's the benefit of having two:

Baby Sweater Tres is on the needles. It's out a 50% yak, 50% merino yarn I picked up at the 2006 Stitches East convention from Schoolhouse Products. I'm trying another in the round, in a 2x2 rib.


Anonymous said...

You have the cutest kids ever! And I'm a totally anonymous knit blog reader so I'm totally unbiased.

And I'm so jealous of your sweater skillz.

Rie said... that last comment was me. And I'm not at all unbiased because I love my nephews more than life itself, but AREN'T THEY THE CUTEST?!?!?

And your sweaters really are jealousy inducing. You have raised the bar. As soon as I'm done knitting monster eyeballs, I will WILL make a sweater.

I think they should be called "sweeters" instead of "sweaters" because sweat is gross and babies look sweet in them (not sweaty).

Love you!