Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Teal Layette

Pingouin Layette fall/winter '95/'96I was at my local yarn shop recently and was looking through the selection of baby pattern books. There are quite a lot of them to look at I must say. My favorites are the French ones, Pingouin, Anny Blatt and Bouton d'Or. Sometimes I find a nice English or German one.

This time I found a Pingouin that I didn't already have and squealed with delight. The ladies in the shop are used to this behavior and shared my pleasure with knowing smiles.

After finishing with the patterns I moved on to the sale bins. 40% off is not to be ignored. I found quite a bit of Sirdar Rio in nice soft colors. It's 60% cotton and 40% acrylic, making it a good choice for summer or multi-seasonal garments. So I stocked up.

Pingouin Layette fall/winter '95/'96 patternThis is the specific pattern that interested me in this Pingouin book. The long sleeve pullover A and the pants B in the photo at left. It's a simple classic outfit suitable for either gender. I like the stitch pattern on the pullover and the color is divine. I found some Rio in just that shade, so wanted to try it out.

There is one problem with the pattern-I don't like the 2x2 ribbing they used with the 2x4 garter rib stitch of the body of the sweater. To me, it doesn't look like it's in keeping with the design. I also don't like the little rolled edges, they just have a tendency to collect baby drool. So I changed it to single rib.

Finished Teal LayetteSo here is the finished product. I do like the single rib much better with the pattern stitch. Sirdar Rio has nice stitch definition and it doesn't split easily while knitting.

Because the yarn is cotton rich, it also doesn't have a lot of elasticity. This made the waistband a little too loose. I have installed a drawstring for the time being, but may use some elastic thread to pull it up properly around the waist in future.

This is one of the things that may happen when substituting yarns in patterns. Cotton doesn't behave the same way as wool, which doesn't behave exactly the same way as synthetics. To make things more confusing, different yarns of the same fiber will behave differently too. I find baby clothes are a good way to experiment with yarns to discover just what kind of fabric they will make before I decide to make an adult sized garment.

Edit: This newborn-sized outfit used 4 balls of Sirdar Rio.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Yellow Layette Finished

I've finished sewing up this little newborn-sized top that I made from Plymouth DreamBaby DK. I used the pattern for the Marnes pullover from Bouton d'Or Layette & Junior book #13. I didn't need to make any adjustments for gauge.

It is the last piece of the yellow layette I've been working on. I originally intended to make a layette using yellow and white DreamBaby and multicolored Hobby yarns. I started with the jacket in Hobby last June and the pants and hat in Dreambaby last October. Now that I have made more pieces I have decided not to combine the two in one layette. The yarns somehow don't look right together when they are knitted up. I will simplify things and keep to the yellow and white Dreambaby in this layette.

Here is the complete set, including a little zip bag with a spare button, a bit of yarn for repairs, and a ball band with laundering instructions.

I will include several other items when I wrap this up because I will be giving it to a close relative and I want it to be a very special gift.

Edit: This newborn-sized layette used 5 balls of yellow and one ball of white DreamBaby DK. Great yardage!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Sewing-up Basket

My sewing-up basket is getting full. I have a bit of catching up to do. I have been spending a lot of time away from home lately. While I'm out and about I find it quite easy to knit things, but not so easy to sew them up.

So, the basket fills.

What you can see on the top layer are 2 baby sweaters. One short-sleeved in white with yellow stripes in Plymouth DreamBaby DK, and one teal long-sleeved pullover in Sirdar Rio.

Also in the basket are this bonnet and booties in Patons Classic Wool. I want to embellish this little set but haven't decided how I want to go about it quite yet.

Perhaps I will add a crocheted edge to them, just a little something to dress them up a bit. Maybe I will choose a bolder look and add some crocheted flowers and colorful edging to them. There are so many options to choose from that it's hard to decide.

Here are some pieces that have made it out of the basket and are now finished.

This is the Malicorne Jacket from Bouton d'Or's Layette & Junior book number 13. I've knit it in Plymouth's DreamBaby DK and adjusted the pattern for differences in gauge.

The baby socks are the same easy baby sock pattern that I have been using from Blossom Knitwear, adjusted to my gauge by using 28 stitches instead of 24.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Finished Wedding Set

Here is a photo of the completed wedding set I was 'drafted' to make a few months ago. The wedding is today, so I can post about it without spoiling the surprise. The set is lovely and the recipient will cherish it. I do need to critique the pattern, however.

This set is crocheted with size 10 cotton thread using the pattern from the March/April 1998 issue of Quick & Easy Crochet magazine. There is an error in the pattern, but the publisher does not maintain a webpage for corrections.

The example in the magazine is crocheted with blue and white ombred thread and I have to say that it looks better than a solid color does. The reason for this is that the 3 pieces don't really look like they are part of a set. That is to say, they don't have a strong design element that is repeated in each item, such as using the same stitch pattern consistently in all 3 pieces. Using an ombred thread makes them look more like a matched set.

I feel compelled to improve upon this pattern and design a set of my own. I don't know why. It must be the little voice in the back of my mind telling me that I can do a better job of it. It may just be the challenge of it. I don't know, but I suspect I may end up posting a thread crocheted wedding set on my blog.

Friday, August 11, 2006

More Waiting Room Knitting

I really do recommend knitting while you wait (or crochet, embroidery, hand sewing etc.) because you don't feel your time has been wasted when you can see that you have made progress on a tangible project.

Just think how much of my time would have been wasted these last few weeks if it weren't for these lovely projects I've been working on?

There is a baby shower coming up in a few months and a family member let me know about it well in advance so that I may have plenty of time to knit. Wasn't that kind and thoughtful of her? The rewards are great for those who give the crafters in the family plenty of time to prepare. I don't know about you, but I know I'd rather get a full layette, lovingly handmade by my Aunt, than a quick pair of booties and package of diapers. I'm just saying.

So, here is yet another pair of those quick baby booties. I've made so many of them that I've memorized the pattern. It's really handy to be able to grab nothing more than a small ball of yarn, a set of needles and a pair of snips or nail clippers and keep them in your handbag to knit while you wait, wherever, whenever.

There's also a short-sleeved top in white with yellow stripes that is waiting to be sewed up and a yellow cardigan to match with a pretty stitch texture. The colors are so bright and cheerful and gender neutral, I know she'll just love them.