February 4, 2011 § 2 Comments
When I saw this vest offered for test knit, I decided to volunteer. Not that I have a girl to knit for, but the vest was too cute. I don’t have many girly colors in my stash and I had been wanting to use Phildar Copacabana which Preeti had sent me sometime back. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to use this yarn and so I did.
The vest is knit bottom up in pieces, but can be easily adapted to knit in round, which is what another test knitter did. The pattern is well written and I, for once, did not find any errors in the pattern. Unambiguous and easy to follow instructions and the pattern comes in sizes from 0-3 months to 24 months. It knits up quickly and is perfect for that last minute gift or to use up a lone skein or two. I used around 1.5 skeins and still have half of it left. Wondering if I can make a couple of coasters with it – I just love the fresh, bright colors of this yarn.
I didn’t make buttonholes on the sides thinking the neck ribbing will be stretchy and can stretch over a kid’s head, but when I tried this on my son, there is hardly any elasticity in the ribbed neckband. It could be the yarn’s characteristic or it could be because I knit on a tight gauge. I did go down a couple of needle sizes than the recommended one to get the required gauge, so it could be that! I need to rip the shoulder seam apart and make some buttonholes now.
This goes into my gift stash waiting for a lovely girl to come and claim it.
January 20, 2011 § 6 Comments
I am very lucky to have a supportive family. Be it my decision to work after having a kid, or taking up a new exercise regimen or my hobby – my family is very supportive. My mother-in-law especially loves the fact that I knit. She does a bit of crochet here and there, but she thinks my knitting skills are really good. She hasn’t seen any projects from other knitters who are far more better than me, so she is blissfully ignorant and I don’t want to correct her. When my biggest admirer requested for a sweater, I just had to do it.
I looked through a lot of patterns and finally decided on Mr GreenJeans by Amy Swenson (ravelry link). I liked the way cables add shaping to the cardigan. I thought this will be flattering on a typical Indian woman (read pear shaped). A very well written pattern, seamless (yay!!!) and is generous on the different sizes. For those with little girls, the same pattern is available for little girls too.
I have knit raglan cardigans before for babies, but was not sure how it will look for an older woman. When my mom tried this on, all my doubts vanished – it looked great on my mom. The neck is too deep for my taste, but looks good. I added buttons all the way down to make the cardigan more practical. The only problem I had with this cardigan is the button band. The bands are knit after picking up stitches along the edges of the body and are worked in 2 x 2 rib. Since this rib is stretchy, it pulled the body stitches along with it and the cardigan looks like it is crunching up its nose and making faces at me. The buttons try to keep the ribbing in place, but it doesn’t help the look.
Yarn is from Surya Emporium, Commercial Street. It’s a 4-ply Vardhaman acrylic yarn. I held double to get the gauge. The yarn is soft and squishy and has great stitch definition. I had bought this yarn to make a baby blanket and chose this color because it was neutral, yet cheerful. I have been using this yarn over and over again, but it still doesn’t get over. I have another 100 gms of yarn left! Buttons are from Pydal. I think the yellow ones add a bit of variety to the monotonous red color.
The sweater was a Diwali gift to my mother-in-law and she loved it. Mumbai has been especially cold this winter and she is making a good use of her gift.
Pattern: Mr. Greenjeans by Amy Swenson (Rav Link)
Yarn: 4-ply Acrylic in Red bought at Surya Emporium
Needles: US 5 3.5mm. Straights for the body and DPNs for sleeves
Buttons: 4 numbers from Pydal
Ravelry Project Page
January 14, 2011 § Leave a comment
In Threes is a simple, yet elegant cardigan for a little girl. The male version of this is Wyatt, which I test knit for Kelly and it is equally cute. I had added In Threes to my wishlist and when Kelly saw that, she generously sent me the pattern as a gift.
I had always wanted to knit this for a girl, but didn’t have any recipient handy. After Kelly’s generous gesture, I had to find a recipient to knit for! The victim was my niece, but sizing was a problem. My niece is almost 8 years old and this cardigan runs upto 6T. After some swatching and gauge checking, I chose a yarn and a needle which would give me the size I want with the numbers from the pattern.
Ever since I had a boy, I have been buying yarn in boys colors and the only neutral yarn I had was this red one. It’s a 4-ply acrylic yarn from Surya Emporium. I held it double and with 4mm needles, I got a gauge of 17 sts to 4″. The pattern calls for 19 sts to 4″, which was fine by me because the cardigan will turn out bigger.
I initially planned to do the yoke in colorful stripes, but blame my choice of colors, the yoke turned out messy, so I decided to stick to one color. I did make some modifications – got rid of the garter ridges on the sides and added sleeves. I guesstimated the sleeve length hoping that I get it right. All the details are on my Ravelry project page. It’s a good thing that I kept notes as I went along because I wouldn’t have remembered anything now – the cardigan was knit last September! I am not too happy with the buttons, but that’s the best I had in my stash.
The cardigan was gifted to the girl during Diwali which she promptly modeled for me. Turns out the sleeves are quite short, they come upto just 3/4th of her arms – so my guestimates are not that good after all. Apart from that, the cardigan fits well – good length and a comfort fit. The girl was happy. I am guessing she would have been happier if I had added a crocheted flower to it to make it more girly.
Pattern: In Threes by Kelly Herdrich
Yarn: 4-ply Acrylic in Red bought at Surya Emporium
Needles: US 6 4mm. Straights for the body and DPNs for sleeves
Buttons: 5 numbers from my stash
Ravelry Project Page
September 22, 2010 § 5 Comments
… with mango sauce and cream. That’s what this blanket reminds me of.
When my friend Anuradha broke the good news that she is expecting, I decided I will knit something for her baby. I was thinking of making a sweater and a hat – something small so that I can knit it in my busy schedule. To my surprise, Anu decided to take up knitting too. She started with a hat and made a cardigan and a vest. Now that she was making these stuff already and was a knitter herself, I couldn’t possibly give her a teeny-weeny sweater, could I? I had to make something good enough for a knitter. That’s how this blanket got created.
Crochet has been on my need-to-learn-this-skill-because-the-FOs-are-so-awesome list, but never got around to doing that. When I was finalizing a blanket pattern for Anu’s blanket, I decided it had to be crochet. One, if I don’t learn crocheting now, I probably never will and two, I have heard crocheting is way faster than knitting. I used the Neat Ripple Pattern by Lucy (or Attic24 as she is known in the crochet world) and loved it. She has detailed photos for crochet newbies like me. The photos were a big help!
After an initial swatch, I had enough confidence that I can finish this blanket. Next step was the choice of colors. I had bought this yarn from Pydal’s for what would have been a vest for my hubby. I soon realized that this yarn is too flimsy and has no stitch definition, so the most natural choice was a baby blanket. I had lots of brown and just one skein of yellow and off-white. After a bit of calculation, I decided to do a row each of yellow and off-white for every five rows of brown. I knit until I ran out of the off-white yarn.
There are so many mistakes in there that I can’t count. For starters, the edges are wavy and uneven. Expert crocheters tell me that the edges are meant to be wavy, so one less mistake to worry about. The starting rows are too tight, so the blanket is narrower at one end and wider at the other. Since it’s a blanket, I hope it’s ok and I hope the baby doesn’t mind.
I worked on this blanket for an hour everyday for 3-4 weeks. It would have taken even lesser if I wasn’t so new to crochet. So, it is true, crocheting is definitely faster. My next blanket is going to be a crochet blanket. I have even bought yarn for it. Going off to look for patterns. Crochet ville, here I come!
September 6, 2010 § 7 Comments
I had been planning to knit a pullover for Ninad since ages. I knit Wonderful Wallaby for him, but that turned out too big. Serves me right for not swatching before starting the project. Now that I had a pullover which wouldn’t fit him for alteast another 6 months, I had to make one which fit him now. Right around the same time, Kelly was looking for test knitters for her latest design, Wyatt, and I jumped at the occasion.
Wyatt has a very interesting construct. You knit the front bottom-up, and once you are done, you cast on for sleeves on either end. Knit the sleeves for a few inches. Cast off some stitches at the center for neck opening, cast on the same stitches on the next row so that you get a nice, wide, neck opening. Once you are done with sleeves, cast off sleeve stitches and knit the back and voila, you are done. There are seams, but since this construct technique is so incredibly clever, I don’t mind seaming. I slipped stitched along the edges using a crochet hook which I prefer over the traditional sewing using the tapestry needle. Ravelry Project details are here.
Sanhita-di had picked up some yarn for me when Gia visited us. Though I have never met Gia, her lovely yarn was passed on to me. The yarn is soft and squishy, in a lovely pastel green shade. Lucky me, I got the exact gauge with 4mm needles on the first attempt itself. I took 4-5 days to knit this but that’s only because I don’t knit for more than half an hour a day. With a very demanding toddler, I am lucky I get atleast this much knitting time!
Kelly gave me the final version of the pattern, which is usual in test knitting deals. But, Kelly went a step ahead and gave me her popular cardigan pattern in threes baby cardigan because I was looking for a top-down seamless cardigan for girls. Thanks Kelly. That was very sweet of you. No prizes for guessing what I am knitting next.
August 2, 2010 § 1 Comment
I hardly find time to knit these days and even less for blogging. When Elena blogged about needing test knitters for her latest designs, I decided to sign up. One, her designs are adorable and who wouldn’t want to knit them? Two, working on a deadline will pack in a few more minutes of knitting time into my daily schedule. Three, I had to knit something for a little girl as a gift.
French Me is adorable. I liked it the moment I saw the photos on Elena’s blog. The top knits up quickly and looks very cute. The pattern is well written and easy to follow. I love the construction technique in this one. The neckband is knit in round and the stitches are divided for front and back pieces. These are knit flat separately and once you are done with armholes, join them and knit the rest of the body in round. Isn’t that clever? The top has a lacy and plain version. In my opinion, the lace one adds that French look to it. The pattern comes in many sizes. If you are looking for a quick gift for a little lady, look no further. Gosh, I am sounding like those old ads on radio!
Remember that adorable girl who was the recipient of the Feather and Fan blanket? And also the pretty pink sweater? She turned one recently and I had to give her something handmade. The top I test knit was the perfect choice because her mom likes to dress her up only in sleeveless frocks. This top can be worn as a single garment (over tights may be) or can be a good layering element also. When I gave this to Sanskriti, she went bonkers. She liked it so much, she was carrying it around like a toy. When her mom wanted to try it on, she just wouldn’t let her touch it. This was the best ‘thank-you’ I got from a kid! It really feels good when you are efforts are appreciated.
July 15, 2010 § 5 Comments
My youngest nephew (or should I say nephew-in-law) and I share a very special bond. When my sister-in-law was expecting this little guy, I wanted to make something handmade for him. I had seen my aunts knit sweaters and booties for infants, so I planned to do the same. Our landlady of the house where we lived at that time was an expert knitter and agreed to teach me knitting. Off I went to Surya Emporium, Commercial Street and bought my first pair of knitting needles and a ball of Wendy’s baby yarn. She taught me the basic knits and purls and helped me knit my first pair of booties. Thus began my knitting saga and I have not looked back since.
The little baby who was the recipient of my first knitted object ever is a handsome 4-year old now. I made my first big project, a baby cardigan, for him when he was around a year old. When I met him last, I saw him wearing the same cardigan which he had clearly outgrown. My sister-in-law and mother-in-law refuse to let go of this hand-knit sweater. (Didn’t I say my in-laws are extremely supportive?) I was touched by their appreciation and decided to knit another sweater for my nephew, which he can comfortably wear.
Childhood (ravelry link) by Natalie Wilson catches your attention at the first glance. The striped sleeves and hood, the striped button bands – these add life to an otherwise plain cardigan. The pattern has instructions for a non-hooded option too. My biggest problem with this pattern is that it is not seamless. I know, I don’t have any rights to complain because I knew it was seamed before I began the project, but still, I want to rant that this cardigan wants you to seam at every possible place – sleeves, underarms, left and right joins, button bands (can you believe it?). I did modify the pattern a wee bit to attaching the button bands as I went to avoid two seams. I don’t exaggerate when I say I spent more time on seaming than knitting. If I make this cardigan every again, I will convert it to seamless first.
These yarns are few of the very first I added to my stash. I bought this with a plan of making a ruffled top for my niece, but that never materialized. I was skeptical of using these colors for a boy, but I think they look ok. Yarns are from Patel’s store, Jayanagar – the standard, Vardhaman 4-ply acrylic yarn. Buttons are from Pydal’s.
The sweater turned out ok. There are quite a few mistakes in there, but not visible, thankfully. I can’t wait to give this to my little nephew who is the very reason why I knit today. Every year on his birthday, when he turns a year older, I realize I am growing as a knitter too. You see, I am a 4-year old knitter now!