Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

Pod of Cetaceans Cardigan

Pod of Cetaceans Cardigan, button band

Pod of Cetaceans Cardigan

Growing up on Cape Cod in the 1980s, I have many memories of nautical themed sweaters, with boats, anchors, captain’s wheels, or whales forming the yoke. With these sweaters came Nantucket jewelry baskets, alligator polos (collars flipped up, of course), plaid pants, embroidered pants, and any other garment with the shape of the Cape Cod arm littered gratuitously about.

This cardigan was inspired by a pullover my mother started for me and finished several years later for my brother, if I am not mistaken. I thought it might be a fun design to revive. Since winter is almost over and I will soon be packing away her size 2 winter clothes, I knit Beatrix the size 3-4 yr for next year. The garment is knit from the bottom up in the round and then steeked open. Those unfamiliar with crochet steeks are encouraged to read Eunny Jang’s definitive steeking tutorial before proceeding. Only feltable wools with plenty of grip should be used for steeking purposes. Neither superwash wools nor plant or synthetic fibers will hold. Although it would be easy to modify the pattern to work back and forth without steeking, the instructions are written for construction in the round.

Note of caution: Any knitter who chooses to abuse this pattern by making matching whale sweaters for the family Christmas card should be flogged, or at the very least have his/her knitting needles confiscated.

This pattern is available as a Ravelry download for $5.00.

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Difficulty: Advanced

Skills used: knitting in the round, increasing/decreasing, reading a chart, stranded knitting, steeking, picking up stitches, hand sewing facings, and optional duplicate stitching

Sizes:

0-3 mos (6-9 mos, 12-18 mos, 2 yr, 3-4 yr, 5-6 yr)

Finished Measurements:

Pod of Cetaceans, finished measurements

Gauge:

17 stitches and 24 rows = 4” in stockinette on US 7 (4.5 mm) needles

20 stitches and 25 rows = 4” in stranded pattern on US 7 (4.5 mm) needles

Note: Swatching the stranded pattern in the round is imperative. I chose to cast on 36 stitches for three whale pattern repeats plus 7 stockinette stitches for a steek. In addition to checking gauge, this extra swatching will provide a valuable opportunity to practice steeking.

Shoulder yoke

Front yoke

Pod of Cetaceans Cardigan, back yoke

Yarn:

Harrisville Designs New England Highland (100% wool; 200 yd [183 m]; 100 g [3.53 oz]): 1(2, 2, 2, 3, 3) skeins #33 Midnight Blue, 1 (1, 1, 1, 1, 1) skein #44 white, 1 (1, 1, 1, 1, 1) skein #7 Tundra.

Needles:

US 7 (4.5mm) circular (length appropriate for size) and set of DPNs

US 6 (4.0 mm) circular needle (length appropriate for size) and set of DPNs

Materials:

Crochet hook, any size between 3.25 -4.0 mm will do

Wool waste yarn in contrasting color (not superwash wool or any plant fiber)

tapestry needle

5 (5, 7, 7, 9, 9) 3/4″ buttons

Working the little hair she has...

Shown here with optional duplicate stitched water spouts over each whale:

Pod of Cetaceans Cardigan, optional whale spouts

The steeked facings are tacked down with a simple blanket stitch.

Pod of Cetaceans, facings

Seed Stitch Baby Jacket revisited

IMG_3494

As many of you may remember, when Beatrix was an infant, I knit up this cute little seed stitch hoodie for her. Twice, in fact. I still maintain that it was the single most useful thing I have ever knit for her. Although the seed stitch seemed endless at the time, the finished product was well worth the trouble. Beatrix hated hats, could not stand to be confined in any way, and was often passed out asleep when it came time to dress her for the cold. She wore this hooded jacket everywhere because it warm, roomy and easy to get on and off without waking her.

The free pattern has been available on my site for two years. Although it has been consistently twice as popular (in terms of downloads) as anything else I offer, the pattern itself left much to be desired. This was one of the first patterns I had ever written and frankly, it was not very good. I did not really want to fix it because if I could do it all over again from scratch, I would have knit the garment completely differently. I have neither the time nor the interest to work out a better, seamless version. Instead, I cleaned up the language, edited out the known errors, altered the neck shaping a bit, and included measurements and stitch counts.

The revised pattern may be found here.

IMG_3496Sizes:
3-6 months, 6-9 months, 9-12 months, 12-18 months, 18-24 mos

Please note the finished measurements of the jacket, as it includes plenty of ease. If you seek a closer fit, please make adjustments accordingly.

Finished Measurements:

Length from back of the neck to bottom edge: 10.25”(11.5”, 12.5”, 13.25”, 14”)

Chest circumference: 20.5”(22.5”, 24”, 25.5”, 27”)

Back width: 10.5”( 11.25”, 12”, 12.75”, 13.5”)

Sleeve length: 6.5”(7.25”, 8.5”, 8.75”, 9”)

Materials:

2 (3, 3, 3, 4) skeins Cascade 220 (100% wool; 220 yd [203 m]; 100g), color: Avocado green, #7814

US7 24” or 32” circular needle, or size required to obtain gauge

Four buttons (7/8” – 1” in diameter)

tapestry needle

Yarn Substitutes:
Any worsted weight yarn will do: Mission Falls 1824 Wool or Cotton, Cascade 220, Plymouth Encore Worsted, Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, etc.

Gauge:

19 stitches and 36 rows = 4” in seed stitch

Author’s note: It is important to make row gauge on this garment. If you cannot, you will need to adjust the frequency of increases and decreases in the hood, the sleeves, and the front and back neck shaping.

IMG_3471

The white version below was knit with Lion Brand Cotton-Ease.

Revisiting an old pattern

The ultimate stashbusting challenge

In my stashbusting efforts this fall, I discovered Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport comprises the majority of my remnant stash. While not a fancy or exciting yarn, it is a nice, inexpensive wool that comes in a million colors. I heart Nature Spun. Most recently, I used Nature Spun Sport for Ida’s vest, a DROPS sweater for Beatrix, and my Winter Sunrise hat. It is also the yarn used in the never ending Katharine Hepburn Cardigan, which I will finish sometime in my lifetime. Excepting the two cones I bought from Whitney’s recent destash, it is worth noting that most of the NS in my remnant stash predates my blog. This means it is at least three years old. I must use it up or throw it out. Period.

With small amounts of at least 13 colors, I suppose I could knit hats. Many, many, many hats. However, I noticed nearly everything could be grouped into shades of orange/brown or shades of blue. Starting with the former color grouping, I decided to knit up the biggest stashbusting project ever: a fair isle vest like the Ivy League vest I knit last year, using only what I had. I will buy more of one particular color if I run out. However, I will not buy additional colors to use in the project.

With the ribbing

Using the same 3×1 ribbing as Ida’s vest, I cast on last October.

Ongoing Brown Sheep Nature Spun Stashbuster Vest

The vest grows slowly, in part due to the stitch gauge and in part due to its relegation to secondary project in my knitting basket. Now, several months later, I have reached the V-neck divide.

Ongoing Brown Sheep Nature Spun Stashbuster Vest

I’m still not sure the bright orange and white peeries jive with the darker peeries. I think they look good from a distance but it’s a little jarring from the knitter’s distance. I added them in the first place because the other peeries blended together into one dark blob.

My favorite panel

This is my favorite peerie of them all. I intend to use it in other designs, I like it so much. From some angles, it looks like the standard XOXO; but from other angles, I see orange butterflies. Do you?

I am willing to accept this may turn out to be the ugliest thing I’ve ever knit. After all, orange and brown are not exactly my favorite colors. However, I think it might be a nice fall vest under a jacket. Furthermore, the planning stages alone taught me valuable lessons about stacking and centering peeries, and stranded knitting in general. I remain hopeful.