A DK pattern for some cute booties and hat sized for newborn to 12 months.
This adorable little set is knitted flat and seamed and takes no time at all. Great for a quick baby gifts or stocking fillers. Suitable for the beginner with a little experience, there are some decreases that you may not have come across before. These along with explanations are given in the abbreviation section of the pattern. Also have a look in the tutorial section of my website for how to work some stitches.
Make it your own. You can choose two very contrasting colours, as I have here with the purple and peach sets, or a more subtle look go with a single colour. Choose colours to match a particular favourite outfit or make the contrast colour something neutral like a light grey which would go with almost anything. Ideal to use up some left-overs from other baby projects the set takes very little yarn, especially the contrast pieces.
Robyn is another simple but classic blanket with an all-over texture pattern. One of those blankets that is neutral but pleasing.
At first glance this blanket pattern is very similar to the Gracie Blanket but the texture is slightly finer and, in my opinion, the stitch is easier to work.
Suitable for the beginner knitter, this blanket does require a little concentration but is still not too difficult. The knitting starts with the bottom border and then the main body of the blanket is knitted before ending with the top border. Stitches are then picked up along the sides to work the borders outwards at each side.
Full instructions are given for working the side borders although I don’t give actual numbers of stitches to pick up. The reason for this is that, even if you have the correct number of stitches for the tension required across your knitting, it is not always a given that you will have the same amount of rows, or you may have even decided to make the blanket shorter or longer. This can cause problems when given a number of stitches to pick up that is based on the row gauge of the pattern or size of the blanket, but not what you have achieved. When picking up stitches along the side of a smaller item, such as a baby cardigan, this does not cause a great deal of trouble (most of the time) but on larger items you can end up with a border that pulls too tightly or is exceedingly baggy. Not the results we all look for. If you have experience, over time you naturally adjust your stitches so they work with your knitted piece, but if you haven’t worked many picked up edgings before it can be a cause for frustration.
To negotiate this problem, I have instead given directions for picking up the stitches, whatever length your blanket is. I also tell you how to end with the correct multiple of stitches so you get neat and even results. This method, once learnt, will hold for all types of project where you need to pick up and knit stitches. Maybe you lengthened a cardigan body for instance so the original pick up numbers for the button border will no longer apply. There are many ways to work out how many stitches to pick up for any type of project. In the pattern I give the easiest and most basic of methods.
Finished Dimensions: 64 x 76 cm / 25 x 30 inches
Yarn: Any suitable DK weight yarn. You will need approx. 825m in total.
For the blanket above I used Rico Baby Classic DK – 165m/50g. 5 Balls
4mm or the size to get you the correct tension. Circular needles are recommended for this project due to the number of stitches but a long pair of straight needles that will hold the stitches comfortably would also work.
24 sts to 10 cm / 4 inches in pattern.
Knitting tension is not crucial but if you do work to a different tension your blanket will come out larger or smaller and will take a different amount of yarn.
Knit, purl, P2tog, K2tog. It will also help if you have picked up and knitted stitches before.
One of my most recent designs is the Colour-Mix Baby Blanket.
This blanket is suitable for a beginner knitter. If you can cast on, cast off, knit and purl then you can make this easily.
The blanket is knitted in separate pieces and sewn together, which is great if tackling a large item is a little daunting. I also found it a great take-along project; the pieces are small and the pattern easily remembered.
For more experienced knitters, this blanket offers the opportunity to use up all those baby yarns you have left over from other projects.
If baby blankets are not your thing, you could of course knit this one up in any yarn and colours you like. A larger aran weight throw in shades to match your decor would make a great throw for snuggling up in on a cold winters’ evening or even a gift for a special person. Any yarn and suitable sized needles will be fine for that and sizes would vary depending on what you have used.
The pattern contains full information as to how to put the squares together, and soon I will post them here with detailed explanations to help you get the best result possible.
Colour-Mix Baby Blanket
When sewn together your blanket lays flat with no visible ridge between the squares. The pattern contains layout information for the position and colours I used for the blanket shown. You can use this or you can just lay out your squares and see which placement of colours pleases you.
This blanket can be made to any size you want by simply adding (or subtracting) squares. The pattern is written for a blanket 56 x 70 cm / 22 x 28 inches.
Paintbox Yarns Baby DK – 167m / 50g The listed blanket takes 5 balls in total or 835m of yarn. For the sample shown I used a Colour pack from Love Knitting in which you get five balls of different colours. There are five packs available with different colour combinations, I chose Sorbet.
Of course, if you choose to make your blanket larger you will need more yarn.
Needles: Pair of 3.75mm needles – or size to get you the required knitting tension.
Tension: 24 sts x 38 rows to 10cm/4 inches in pattern. Each blanket square should measure approximately 14 cm square. Knitting tension is not crucial but if you knit to a different tension you blanket will be a different size and you may need more yarn.
The pattern for this blanket is available as an instant download from Loveknitting.com
As usual, pattern support is available for this and all my patterns. You can either leave a comment here or email me at email@example.com and I will answer your question as soon as I can.
Following on from my last post, Slipper Felting – part 1, this is where we go all out and talk about throwing your knitted slippers into the wash.
Firstly, all the samples here were felted in a front loading washing machine, in fact all the felted items I make are felted this way because it is all I have. This does not stop you from using a top loader if that’s what you have, in fact felting is much easier in a top loader as you can whip your item out almost whenever you want. The types of programs and lengths that I give will be slightly different though. You can also felt items by hand, it takes longer but you do have more control over the finished item. This method comes in particularly handy if you have felted something in the washer and it is almost the size you need it, but not quite, or if for some reason it has not felted evenly. If you don’t want to take a chance on it becoming too small if you put it though a whole wash again you can finish by hand.
I come across plenty of people, mainly here in the UK, that would not felt anything because they have a front loading washing machine. I think opinion is that you really need a top loader to be successful. This is certainly not the case and although you perhaps don’t have the control you would like, you can still produce felted items with great success.
There are so many variables when felting something it can seem complicated but it’s really not. Mostly you can just take a chance and see how things go but it does help to have a little background knowledge to better your chances of getting exactly what you wanted.
To put your item in a lingerie bag or not.
I know that a lot of people use lingerie bags to put their item into and felt in that. This is, I think, mainly to keep any fluff that comes off of during the felting process out of the machine. To be honest I have never used one and never had a problem but that is only my experience and if you have an expensive machine and don’t want to take a chance, using one can’t hurt.
I use ordinary laundry detergent to felt all my items. If I am hand washing a delicate hand knit I only use a wool wash but I have always been of the opinion that as I want my item to shrink and be hard wearing, not needing it to be particularly soft so, to me, using an expensive wool soap has no advantage.
Temperature and Length of wash.
This really is the crux of the matter isn’t it? No matter what machine you have, whether or not you use a bag to put the item in and what detergent you use, it all finally comes down to what temperature and for how long to get the item come out how you want.
Unfortunately, there really is no easy answer. I would love to say, ‘oh, just do this and all will be perfect’ but in all honesty I can’t.
The following knitted samples were all made in Cascade 220 held double, at the gauge I use for my slipper patterns except D which was the tighter gauge sample I used in part 1.
I washed each slightly differently. Each came out a slightly different size. Again, I have worked out a percentage decrease for each one so you can see exactly the difference it made. It all seems a bit technical but I wanted to be as accurate as possible so you could see what difference a wash can make. I have left out sample D as it is not relevant here.
Sample A = washed at 50 deg C / 122 deg F for 1 hour with towels
Sample B = Same wash as A but with denims not towels
Sample C = washed at 40 deg C / 100 deg F for just over 2 hours with clothes
Sample E = washed at 30 deg C / 86 deg F with towels
The following are the percentage decreases in size:
Sample A = -13% width x -26% height
Sample B = -11% width x -20% height
Sample C = – 17% width x -27% height
Sample E = 0% width x -10% height
So as you can see, all exactly the same in all respects to begin with, so different after a wash. Even changing what you use to agitate your item with changes your outcome. In my opinion, felting with the towels which ‘foam’ up the washing water more is why that particular sample felted more.
For my patterns, using the recommended yarn and sizing information, I use the wash from sample A – 50 deg C / 122 deg F for 1 hour.
Too much information? Probably…. maybe, but I hope that this has given you something to think about when embarking on a felting project and perhaps taken a bit of the mystery surrounding it away. The good news is that, with the exception of sample E, overall these figures will not make a huge difference to what exact size a small item such as a pair of slippers comes out. If your slippers are a little loose, felt a little more (see part 1), if they are a little small, put them on while still damp and wear them around for a while, they will stretch to the size of your feet.
Mostly, just have fun with your felting and experiment.
I think I mentioned some time ago that seamless was no longer my favourite type of construction. There was a time that I loved knitting seamless garments and they were pretty much all I worked on. In fact the three cardigans patterns that I published are all seamless construction.
Seamless v.s. seamed is a contentious subject amongst many knitters. It can evoke strong opinions in even the most chilled of knitters and I’ve seen a few fairly heated arguments erupt through the years. You know though, I’m not sure why really. Each method has its’ merits and pitfalls. Some methods work well for some types of garments, other methods for others.
My move away from seamless construction, and I am talking mainly garments here, came about very slowly and as with anything there is more than one reason why.
I love yoke sweaters, always will, and the best way to knit them is seamlessly, especially if they have any colour work, so if I want to knit any more this will certainly be the way I will do it. But at the moment I prefer a set in sleeve, they just seem to suit me better in terms of fit and look. But..wait for it… I can’t find a seamless method of knitting them that gives me results that I am happy with.
Perhaps it is my body shape, I think it certainly has something to do with my shoulder width being slightly wide for my (now) body size. For me, a seamless set in sleeve does not fit as well as a seamed one, no matter what method I use to knit one. On some garments, the fit is all about the shoulders. If you get the shoulder width right, the rest of the garment can be as large and ill fitting as you like and it will still hang right and look a good fit.
I have tried a contiguous set in sleeve where everything is knitted as you go but it didn’t work for my shoulder shape and didn’t sit right. The top of the sleeve appeared far too angular on me. I have tried picking up stitches around the armhole and working short rows for the sleeve cap but it still didn’t really work for me either and I just don’t like the look that you get. I know it works for a lot of people but I have also seen a great deal of examples where the sleeve ‘seam’ pulls down the arm and doesn’t sit on the shoulder like it should. The garments look too small although they clearly fit well elsewhere.
The other reason is simply to do with the sleeves themselves. I found that I really don’t like knitting sleeves in the round. I knit a lot of socks and don’t have a problem with them so it has nothing to do with small circumferences in the round or anything like that. I’m not sure I can put my finger on it at the moment but I had several WIP’s that sat languishing in my knitting basket and when I sorted through them every one had stalled on the sleeves. Top down, bottom up made no difference, all had been brought to a point where the seamless sleeves needed to be worked and then the project had stalled.
So, at the moment, seamed garments are what I am knitting and perhaps it is time to move away from that subject for a while and show you one of the things I have finished recently.
This is Hartland by Sarah Hatton. It was re-published in The Knitter issue 103. The yarn is from stash, a Sirdar wool blend.
The pattern is a seamed one and was easy to follow but I did have a few issues with it. I knitted the jumper as per pattern without any adjustments but had a few issues with the neck width being too wide for my taste. It wasn’t apparent that it was that wide in the photos and there were no figures in the schematic for the neck width. In the end I ripped back and re-knitted the neck edging three times, each time decreasing the number of stitches that I picked up and again decreasing on the first round to pull it in even more. I am glad to say that it now fits nicely around the neck and shoulders although the body is a little boxy. If I were to knit it again I would probably put in a little waist shaping.
When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky. ~Buddha
The weather here has been pretty good these past few weeks, dry and warm, and it has been good to take some time out and just contemplate things, taking the time just to be.
I spent the summer before last madly working away to cover holidays and maternity leave, not getting a break until the autumn, and last summer was spent indoors completely immobile after suffering a slipped disc. So, one way or another this summer has felt like my first real, able to enjoy, summer in some time. I spent a good deal of the winter dreaming of afternoons spent in the garden with a glass of wine chatting with loved ones or on my own with an audiobook and some knitting and I have at last managed that. Small pleasures but no less enjoyable for that.
I started the month finishing up the Sprössling cardigan by Anne Hanson.
The details on this are just lovely and I’m going to enjoy wearing it when the weather gets a little cooler. The only slight change to the original pattern I made was to lower the neck line a little, maybe an inch or so, apart from that it is pretty much as written.
The yarn, Blacker Yarns pure Shetland, is a pleasure to knit with and has that unmistakeable beauty of a good wool with a firm-ish hand and good stitch definition. It will soften and bloom with age and look just as good in 5 years time.
I had a funeral to go to the week after I finished the cardigan, never a happy event, but the human sprit never fails to amaze me, we are at our best, I think, when times are hard. The woman, a relation by marriage was only a few years older than me, and it was a pointent reminder of how fragile life is. Her children are only a couple of years older than mine and my mothers words rang in my ears throughout. When my mother found out she was dying she turned to me and said, ‘but what will you all do without me?’ She never, for one reason or another, spoke to me again. I could not help but think all the way through, what was a beautiful woodland burial, ‘but what will the children do without her? ‘ Survive is the answer, and find joy in the smallest of things, as we all do, or should do. I have a friend who thought that going through one bad event in life meant that she had done her ‘penance’ and that everything would be good from then on. She is constantly surprised and disappointed now when life throws her a curve ball. One thousand joys and one thousand sorrows I tell her, you’ve a little way to go yet! Make blueberry waffles is what I say.
I had been wanting to try the new yarn from Drops called Puna, a pure Alpaca yarn in a DK weight. I ordered myself a few balls just to try a while ago and it had been sitting waiting for me to finish up the cardigan, so when that was done I knitted up a few swatches and was pretty pleased with the results. I put some figures together and came up with a design for a waistcoat.
This was the first draft of the pattern. I wanted to make the front and back slightly different as they would be in a traditional waistcoat so the back has a simplified version of the front pattern. Different but still echoing the stripes of the pattern.
For the second draft, I dropped the front a little and changed the way the decreases worked. It makes the v-neck sweep a little better and has no fully fashioned decreases so the lines look smoother.
You can see the front patterning better in this picture. The back has the same columns without the garter stitch horizontal lines.
It works well with a shirt for a bit of a formal look but also goes pretty well with just a t-shirt.
The Alpaca gives a lovely drape and weight to the fabric which means it moves and flows as you wear it although a wool or wool mix yarn would look as good I think.
The waistcoat is knitted flat and seamed, with garter stitch bands and lots of buttons which I think finishes it off. I am working on writing up the pattern, slowly though, it won’t be ready for a couple of weeks or so. As usual if you would like to have a go at a test knit, just drop me a line and as soon as the patten is ready to go I’ll forward you a copy.
Here are some other things that have been taking my attention over the last few weeks.
The tortoises have been enjoying the warm, humid weather,(which is more than can be said for the cats) it suits them perfectly and they have been keeping us entertained with their antics.
The cup cakes are a new recipe that I have converted from a gluten and dairy containing one to gluten and dairy free. I want to try it a couple of more times before I write it up but it seems pretty much bomb proof and only takes a couple of minutes to throw together.
Some of the roses are on their second flowering, I’ve found that it really does make a difference to keep dead-heading them all through the summer. I had been told but had never been on the ball with it before! Live and learn.
Yes, I know it’s not June any more but please humour me, I’m a little behind !
June, the beginning of summer. Not that you would know it. As usual our weather has been a little typical, muggy, wet, chilly, windy and occasionally sunny.
The roses have taken a bit of a bashing in the recent winds and have some blackspot on them, but they have still managed to put on a pretty good show. I have several more and are adding to my collection slowly. I find myself drawn to roses more and more recently and are secretly planning a small rose garden, I just haven’t told anyone around here yet!
A recent day out in Cornwall looked disappointingly like this…
But it was a lovely drive out anyway and blew out some cobwebs.
We did however, have better weather later in the month for a trip to Buckfast Abbey. I love the Abbey grounds and gardens but the main joy for me is the architecture.
I have a deep fascination for that period in history, the architecture and the people.
Buckfast Abbey has been beautifully restored and the grounds and Abbey Church are free to visitors. The Monastery was founded in 1018 and is still today home to a group of Benedictine monks.
On the knitting front in June, I found some alpaca silk mix yarn from Drops in the stash, a ball or two each of a few colours, and searched around for something small to knit. I eventually decided upon Cameo by Paulina Popiolek. The pattern, as it stood, was a little large for both my taste and available yarn so I modified it a little, cutting down on all the sections to make a shawl/scarf.
I am really please with how this turned out. Even my modified cut down version is about 2 meters from tip to tip, more than enough to wrap around comfortably but not too deep. The alpaca silk yarn is soft and drapey with a weight from the alpaca that makes the edges of the shawl hang beautifully without any curl.
I also published another blanket pattern in June. Babies abound in our family at the moment for some reason and it has sort of become habit that I design a new blanket.
I called this one Trillium because of the three petal design I used for the body of the blanket.
This one was knitted in a 4ply yarn but I also wrote the pattern up for a DK weight version as well. An easy relaxing knit, all details are on the pattern page.
I have been interested in getting back to garments that are knitted flat and then seamed. Back in the history of my knitting adventures, I began by knitting garments this way but moved over to seamless knitting some, maybe, 10 years or so ago now. I have enjoyed knitting this way, but there have always been some aspects of it that I have not been completely happy with.
I’m not about to get into the long debate amongst knitters as regard to seamed vs seamless knitting, that’s just dangerous! There are advantages and disadvantages in both methods and I do really like both methods. My renewed interest in knitting seamed garments coincides partly with my recent interest in a more tailored garment and the type of design that also seems to be particularly suited to it. And before you say it, yes you can knit tailored garments seamlessly but there is something to be said for the structure that seams give. I have much more to say on the subject but will save that for a later post.
For my first seamed garment for a while I decided on a design called Sprössling by the lovely Anne Hanson. In the stash I found some pure Shetland yarn from Blacker Yarns, which had been overdyed a sort of turquoise colour. I bought this a year or two back intending it for something completely different but some yarns and patterns just don’t work together for me. However this pattern and yarn just seemed to love each other and in a few weeks all the pieces were ready for seaming.
Here the pieces are all steam blocked and ready to put together which is what I will be working on over the next few evenings. You can see the pattern and colour slightly better in this photo.
So, that has taken us up to the end of June. I have another completed project to show you as well as this cardigan all seamed and finished and another large project started for July.