Saturday, September 5, 2009

garter baby sweater

(this will get a better name once my baby is here, the gender is known, and thus has a name besides "baby" and "it"!)

Gauge: 14 sts x 28 rows = 4 inches in garter stitch on US size 9 needles, or needle size needed for correct gauge. Since babies come in a million sizes and are constantly growing, your gauge doesn't have to be spot-on. This was based off of a 3-month sized sleeper but given a few extra stitches and rows here and there to ensure that it can be worn for a good amount of time, and that your baby will not be too snug or immobile. If it's a little big, just add an extra cozy layer underneath and roll up the cuffs.

Materials: Approx 175 yards worsted or aran weight yarn. Shown in Lion Brand Vanna's Choice in Charcoal Gray.
Two sets of size 9 (or as needed for gauge) needles: one long set (about 32", to work sleeves) and one shorter set (16" to work body). The longer set isn't absolutely necessary, but it is nice to be able to stretch your work out completely to see how it's coming out. :)
Waste yarn or stitch holders
Tapestry needle
1 stitch marker to mark beginning of round
2 buttons

Pattern: With longer needles, cast-on 86 stitches (provisional cast-on will make your life a lot easier but a loose long-tail cast-on will work too). Work in garter stitch for 22 rows.
Next row: Knit 35 stitches (sleeve), bind off 16 stitches (neck), knit 35 stitches (sleeve). Slip first 35 stitches onto waste yarn or stitch holder.
Knit 2 rows, then begin shoulder shaping (begin at shoulder edge):
Knit 15, w&t, knit return row
Knit 12, w&t, knit return row
Knit 9, w&t, knit return row
Knit 9, w&t, knit return row
Knit 12, w&t, knit return row
Knit 15, w&t, knit return row
Continue in garter stitch for 20 more rows.
Beginning at sleeve edge, bind off 28 stitches and slip remaining 7 stitches onto waste yarn.
Pick up other sleeve stitches and work a second sleeve as before. Sew sleeves shut.

(this is what the sweater will look like; the pink dots are where the wrap & turns were done)

Switch to shorter needles. Pick up all remaining stitches from original cast-on row, remaining sleeve stitches, and 1 from each armpit to close any gaps you may have. To fill the neck gap at front, when you come to this point, cast-on 16 stitches. You should now have 66 stitches on the needles.
Work these stitches in garter stitch in the round (knit 1 round, purl 1 round) for 2 inches, then work an increase row: (knit 22, m1) 3 times. (69 sts)
Knit in garter stitch for another 2 inches, then work another increase row: (k23, m1) 3 times. (72 sts)
Knit 2 more inches, or until sweater body reaches desired length, then bind off loosely.

Button flap:
Pick up and knit 20 stitches from front and work in garter stitch for 2 rows.
Next row: K1, m1, k to last st, m1, k1. (22 sts)
Knit 3 more rows then repeat increase row. (24 sts)
Knit for another inch.
Next row: K1, yo, ssk, knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, yo, k1. Knit 1 more row, then bind off. Attach buttons, insert baby, enjoy!

Some ideas for modifications:
* Work a simple cable along each cuff, or a more complex cable down the front.
* Work the button flap in a pretty lace pattern.
* For girls, add a little extra length to make a tunic.
* Use up scraps of yarn from other projects to create a colourful feast for the eyes!
* Crochet a pretty edge around the neck, cuffs, button flap, and bottom of body.
* Add width and length then sew a zipper to the bottom and make a "sleep sack"!
* ...I'd LOVE to see someone make this in Noro! :-)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

bluebell notes

I made this over a year ago and had a so-called "pattern" written up but after looking over it a few times it was waaay too confusing, so I took it down and forgot about it. I've received a few emails about it lately, so here are some notes for those interested in making my Bluebell pattern. Hopefully it's not too confusing! :)

I used Cascade Sierra yarn, which is mostly cotton with a little bit of wool. A nice yarn really, but not quite stretchy enough, in my opinion, for the smock section. You'll want a yarn with a little more elasticity than this. To calculate how much yarn you'll need check out this page:
I used 4.0 and 5.0 mm needles but use whatever size you need to obtain the correct gauge (6 sts/inch).
Waste yarn.
Measuring tape & Calculator. You'll need to do a few calculations: neckline, bustline, arms, and the measurement from the neckline to the widest part of your arm/shoulder. Since the body of this sweater is open, the bustline won't be your actual bust measurement (unless of course you want it to be!).

Multiply all these measurements by your gauge, add 2 (you will do a 1-stitch-wide garter stitch border down the fronts), then...

Beginning the Yoke:
First row: K4, *p2, k4, rep from * to last 4 sts, k4.
Second row: k1, p3, *k2, p4, rep from * to last 4 sts, p3, k1.

Smock Pattern:
Always slip stitches with the yarn held back!
Row 1: k4, *sl 2, k4, rep from * to last 4 sts, k4.
Row 2: k1, p1, *sl next 2 sts onto cable needle (hold back), k1, p2 from needle, sl 1 st onto cable needle (hold front), p2, k1 from needle, rep from * to last 3 sts, p2, k1.
Row 3: k1, sl 1, *k4, sl 2, rep from * to last 2 sts, sl 1, k1.
Row 4: k1, p1, *sl 1 st onto cable needle (hold front), p2, k1 from needle, sl 2 onto cable needle (hold back), k1, p2 from needle, rep from * to last 3, p2, k1.

The smock pattern will be worked again as before, this time with increases in the first row. The techniques are exactly the same; the numbers change slightly to adjust for the extra stitches. Now…
Row 1: k1, m1, work 8 sts in pattern as before (knitting the knit stitches, slipping the purl stitches), *m1, work 12 sts in pattern, rep from * to last st, m1, k1.
Row 2: This is where you will adjust to the extra stitches that were made. The purl sections in between the cables alternate between 4 stitches wide and 5 stitches wide. Work across the row as before, this time when you get to a section with 5 purl stitches, you will slip 3 stitches onto the cable needle instead of 2.
Row 3: knit the knit stitches, slip the purl stitches.
Row 4: (See note for Row 2)

You will now do purl 2, knit 1 for the rest of the body, increasing and/or decreasing when necessary. Refer again to your measurements & calculations to determine how frequently you will be inc/dec. Always increase in the purl columns to maintain 1-stitch-wide knit columns.
Slip sleeve stitches onto waste yarn and add cast-on an inch's worth of stitches (or more depending on your measurements) to bridge the gap. Continue working in rib pattern for the rest of the body.
Work sleeves in rib pattern. For loose bell sleeves, don't decrease. Work in pattern until desired length. Repeat for second sleeve.
For ties, pick up 3 stitches on front neckline edge and work an i-cord for about 10 inches. Repeat for second tie.