Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sewing FO - sun hat

I present to you a 'vintage' baby sun-bonnet. It was mine as a baby, and I'm reasonably sure that my dolls wore it too. It's now coming in useful for my own Small Human in the glorious sunny weather we have had recently. 
But it's always useful to have more than one. I used the original bonnet as a template, & whipped up a second one in some leftover camouflage fabric. It just took an hour or two. Of course, I had to add just a little hint of girlie, with some pink gingham ribbon around the outside...
and some pink gingham lining on the inside. 
She even keeps it on sometimes, as she seems to realise the wide brim keeps the sun out of her eyes. 
The other half has been referring to this hat as 'Little Soldier on the Prairie' - seems accurate!
I intend to make another one or two in plainer fabrics, so that they will go with any outfit we might have on her. I've recently been watching 'The Great British Sewing Bee' so have found it strangely exciting and satisfying to whip up something useful & wearable in one evening.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Baby garments (or Lessons in Swatching part 2)

I spent most of the month of March knitting two cardigans for the small human. Being rather small, these garments should not have taken so long to knit, only I chose to ignore the swatching process. 

It seems that my tension, and therefore my stitch gauge has somehow changed all of a sudden. I was a slightly loose knitter & almost always got gauge using a needle one size smaller than recommend in the pattern.

Yarn: Rico Essentials Soft Merino Aran
Button: From my mother's button jar. 

This cardigan had about 3 false starts. 
It began as a more complicated pattern, but I was in the mood for a simpler piece of knitting. 
I first started to knit the pattern as written; then chose to re-knit several times to avoid staggered stitches at the neckline, and when I realised the garment would be too small. 
I checked my gauge somewhere along the knit & realised it was tighter than required by the pattern. I did like the resulting fabric though, and knit the 2-4 years size in that tighter gauge to suit my 12 month old. I'm happy with the resulting garment, and it's written up in adult sizes too! 

Pattern; Mini Manu from Kate Davies
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.
Buttons: from Hickey's 

It appears that I am a slow learner. 
After finishing the Harvest cardigan, I cast on for a Mini-Manu. I knit the body up to the underarms. I knit the sleeves. I joined the sleeves to the body & knit a few more rows. All this time I was ignoring the niggling voice in my head, saying that the cardigan looked a little small. After about a week or so of churning out the knitting, I finally took out a tape measure. I measured the small human's chest & told myself that once the i-cord edging was added that the cardigan should fit her. And I continued to knit. 

I then measured a dress I would like this cardigan to fit over, and finally, I measured out ten centimetres of knitting & checked my stitch gauge. Whoops! Too small.

I started again, using a larger needle, & treating one sleeve as a swatch. This time I got gauge. I also chose to knit a bigger size, as these small humans have a habit of growing.
The cardigan fits, with a little room for growing. 
I omitted the crumbcatchers pockets, and omitted the gathered effect of the sleeves by casting on the number of stitches required after increases listed in the pattern. I've been turning up the sleeves of most of her cardigans until she grows into them, particularly at mealtimes.

I haven't since checked my gauge against my previous standard. Most knitting these moments happens when I am on standby, waiting for the small human to wake from her naps, so perhaps I'm not quite as relaxed about it. 

I also wonder if we'll be sending her to gymnastics when she's a little older, as she seems to have perfected the splits. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lessons in Swatching

I realise that I have written very little about knitting lately. This is largely due to the fact that most of my knitting time has been spent working up swatches, experimenting with colour & pattern.

Now that I've settled on colour it's time to do some calculations, only I forgot to write down which sized needle I used.... Oops.

The lesson here is to always write things down because;
1. I will not remember the needle size and
2. I will probably put the needle back in the needle case before I get around to measuring it.