Monday, 21 March 2016

Finished Objects

Gosh, two posts in two days!  This must be a record!

I had a good day yesterday, finishing off some items that had been on the go for a while.

Firstly, there was this little newborn hat, knitted on circulars with a feather and fan pattern:

I'm not normally very good with lace patterns because I get a bit over-enthusiastic with yarn-overs and end up with way too many stitches and holes in wrong places. But this one worked well, and produced a very dainty-looking hat.  This is the pattern I followed; I did a rolled stocking stitch brim rather than the garter stitch brim suggested by the pattern.  

The other finished garment is this little boy's cardigan, which I am counting towards my 12 boy's jumpers for the year: 

It is a Stylecraft pattern which is available for free on the Deramores website - their free patterns are well worth checking out.  The double contrast stripes in the rib add a really smart touch to this cardigan.  This is the smallest size of the pattern (6-12 months); I'm also knitting the largest size - well, if you have read other posts you will know that I find it hard to finish a garment without having started something else in the meantime!

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Playing with sizes

What a difference yarn thickness and needle size can make to knitting the same pattern.  Loving Hands members have access to a range of patterns devised for us by a well-loved member,  Mayflower (as she was known on our forum), who sadly died a couple of years ago.

I have made most of her patterns, and an old favourite is one of her premature baby cardigan designs.  The sleeves are knitted first, then you start knitting the whole cardigan from the bottom up, with the sleeves knitted in when you get to the yoke.  It is straightforward to follow, and has minimal sewing up to be done at the end - just the sleeve seams in fact.  It is the sort of cardigan that I loved to dress my own babies in - easy to get on and off, attractive and - well it looks like a baby cardigan should!

Last week I knitted it in white baby double knit on size 4.00 needles, with the usual reliable result:

With a 15 inch chest, it will fit a large preemie or a small newborn baby.  But the great thing about Mayflower's patterns is that most of them are designed to be knitted in any thickness of yarn, as long as you use appropriate sized needles.  She does this by telling you how many rows to knit, rather than by measuring the length of a garment.  So I set to with the pattern again, this time knitting with 4 ply yarn on size 3.25 needles.

What a contrast!  Here the two cardigans are, side by side:

I really was surprised at the huge difference in size.  The peach 4 ply one turned out with a 9 inch chest, suitable for a 2-3 lb size preemie baby.  This 4 ply yarn is a Brunswick baby yarn from the US, so perhaps it is slightly thinner than a UK 4 ply would be.  I now need to experiment with other 4 ply yarns in my stash to see if I can get in between these 2 sizes.

One of the many benefits of knitting for charities is that size isn't so important: somewhere out there, there will be a baby who will fit the particular size that you have made!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Playing with colours

Brrrrr!!  In my last post I may have thought that spring was on the way, but today it is grey, cold and blowing a gale.  So it seems just right to show the aran hat I made yesterday.  I had some oddments that went well together:

At first I thought I would use the plain blue for the rib and the short change variegated blue for the body of the hat.  I knitted the hat in the round on a small circular needle, and as I came to the end of the rib, I wondered whether I should go for stripes rather than contrasting sections.  Then I wondered what effect would be created if I knitted one row of plain, followed by one row of variegated yarn.  So I had a go:

When knitting in the round you can do single row stripes, which in fact don't look very much like stripes at all.  I liked this effect, so carried on to complete the hat:

Overall it gives a rather shadowy effect, which I think adds interest to the hat.  I shall play some more with this technique!