A bouquet of daisies

Now that my latest design, Miss Daisy, is available in my Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy stores, I thought I’d share a few of my test-knitters’ versions. This round of test-knitting was a real treat, and I’m so pleased with how the pattern works out in all different sizes! (all photos are used with permission. Clicking on photographs will take you to each project page on Ravelry).

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Photo courtesy of ViolettaIvanova. Yarn used: Spud & Chloe Sweater.

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Photo courtesy of MelliferaMel. Yarn used: Mellifera Yarns Merino Aran.

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Photo courtesy of Madamour. Yarn used: Malabrigo Merino Worsted.

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Photo courtesy of deepgreenandblue. Yarn used: Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran.

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Photo courtesy of Emma-Saru. Yarn used: Malabrigo Merino Worsted.

When yarn and pattern click

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Some yarns are so pretty, you just have to have them. You don’t think much about what you’ll make with them. That’s what happened with my Malabrigo Worsted in Alpine Pearl. It was so pretty as a skein, so I just bought it. But when I used it a few years ago to make a Trendy Shawl I ended up feeling that it wasn’t the best use for it. Knit up in garter stitch, it seemed a bit muddled or messy to me. Not to mention, the yarn was too bulky for a shawl and I barely wore it. So my shawl got frogged and my beautiful Alpine Pearl lay dormant in my stash.

I was looking to knit a goodbye gift for a friend, and needed something practical, a useful item that wouldn’t be too high-maintenance but still would feel luxurious. I thought about my Alpine Pearl and searched Ravelry to see what others had made with it. I came across a beautiful project on Ravelry, which highlighted the variegation of the yarn perfectly, without  the elegant design being obscured by the color changes. A match made in heaven!

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Pattern: A river runs through Mitt by Aimee Pelletier

Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted (Alpine Pearl colorway)

Time to Knit: a couple of days per mitten

My mods: no mods!

What I thought about the pattern: Great. Well written, good layout, easy yet interesting to knit. Thanks to this pattern, I learned how to cable without a cable needle finally! I love it!

What I would do differently next time: nothing! This is a great go-to pattern for gifts. Very nice.

Name that shrug contest!

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EDIT: Thank you everyone for your suggestions! I have selected MISS DAISY to be the name of this new pattern, after a suggestion I got on my Facebook page. Congratulations to the winner!

Ta-da!! Look what just fell off my needles. Do you want to help me find a name for it?
If I select your suggestion, you win a copy of this pattern AND any other one of my patterns!!

Here’s how to participate: either follow this blog, “Like” my Facebook page, join my group on Ravelry, or follow me on Instagram, and leave me your suggestion in any of these places.
If I select your idea, you win a copy of this pattern AND any other one of my patterns!!

Contest closes on Friday, Feb.7th.

(Please allow until the end of the month for this pattern to be written up, edited and tested)

New Year Resolution #1: Selfish Knitting

So. New Year resolutions. Yea or Nay? (I almost wrote “yay”, ha)

I have a few resolutions floating in my head, nothing set in stone. Perhaps writing them down here will make them more likely to happen!

One thing I want to do this year, for my own sanity really, is to carve out some time for “selfish knitting.” My definition of this would include knitting more things for myself of course (rather than just for my children or for gift-giving). But also, and this is trickier for me to do: not always knitting with a potential design in mind, or heavily modifying an existing design that falls short of what I want.

Rather, the idea would to just knit recreationally sometimes, mindlessly really, from a great pattern that someone else has completely worked out. Trying to get back the feeling of meditation that you can get from the act of knitting, knitting in the round, stitch after stitch to create a sea of stockinette, or chanting the instructions to yourself as you work a lace repeat.

So: here’s my first Selfish Knit of the year, which I did as part of a Knitalong on Ravelry– A first for me! That was fun!!

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Pattern: Sprig by Alana Dakos, a “preview” from the upcoming Botanical Knits 2 collection

Yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers in Birch Heather

Time to knit: about 3 weeks, but I knit most of it in 10 days.

My mods: I started with the smallest size for the neckline because I wanted to make sure that it wouldn’t gape. Then I increased until I got the raglan stitch counts for the second size, and added the number of underarm stitches of the third size. So I ended somewhere between size 2 and 3 for the bust and sleeves. My detailed mods are visible on my Ravelry page.

What I thought about the pattern: A really neat and clever design, surprisingly straightforward and pretty fast to knit. I loved working the neckline, I will definitely use this idea of working “attaching as you knit” in the future. I liked the little finishing touches, which make the sweater look really polished. I do think it fits well but I had to mix-n-match the stitch counts to achieve this. On the other hand I am not getting the boatneck effect, but honestly, even though it looks lovely on the model with nothing underneath, I wouldn’t love it as much with a bra-strap or t-shirt peeking-out of it.

What I would do differently next time: I wouldn’t use Cascade 220, which is one of the yarns that is suggested, the resulting fabric is a bit too stiff, lacking drape. I was hoping it would grow a bit during blocking but it did not budge at all, which is a good thing in general! The alternate yarn suggested is 50% alpaca, so the drape would be better, though I’d worry that the gorgeous neckline details might get lost in the alpaca fuzzies.

I think I might also skip the waist shaping altogether, it’s a bit snug-fitting at the moment (leftover pregnancy weight notwithstanding) and possibly make longer sleeves, though that might mess up with the balance of the design.

Hand-knit-downs

The other day I was sorting through baby clothes (this is a big part of my life nowadays!) and I came across this lovely little cardigan that I had painstakingly made for A while I was pregnant with him. Here’s a photo of him at 4 months wearing it:

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Baby A

It’s a pattern called “Korrigan” by a fantastically talented French designer (her line of yarns is also gorgeous). I remember that, even in a 6-month size, it seemed to take forever using fingering weight yarn (I used madelinetosh merino light in the Candlewick colorway).

I was really proud of the result, it looked really precious and beautiful, and had that special heirloom quality.

Z now wears this little cardi often, and seeing her in it brings back so many memories of her brother as a tiny baby. I love that these sweet hand-knits that I poured a lot of love into are being worn by my second baby as well :)

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Baby Z

My latest design: Framboise!

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Something fresh for the summer! As usual this is fun and quick to knit and completely seamless.

I wanted a scalloped hem of some kind and a motif that was easy to work and could be made to be either lacy or not. The motif is also used to add interest to the cap sleeves:

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There are buttons along the raglan to make it easy to put on and off:

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This top could easily be turned into a tunic or a dress by simply adding some length to the body. I think it would look great in a more winter-y type of yarn, maybe something a bit tweedy, to wear as a layering piece.

The sizes go from 0 to 6yo, and it’s available on Ravelry here.

Striped vest for Axel

Baby #2 isn’t the only one who benefited from my knitting frenzy these past few months. Here’s a little vest that I improvised for Axel back in April. I had just a little bit of leftover Noro Silk Garden that I really wanted to put to good use.

The Silk Garden lends itself to gorgeous striping, I think. By itself, the colors are a bit much for me but put it next to a nice grey and it really shines.

Only problem: I really should I have made this a tad bigger… This will be pretty small by the time the weather gets colder. These pictures were taken back in the Spring, and he definitely grew a lot since then. But… there’s a certain chunky munchkin I know who might be able to wear this in a few months ;)

Baby bonnet

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As soon as I saw this beautiful pattern, I knew I needed to make one for Baby#2. It’s called Lilacs for Lila and it’s available (for free) on Ravelry.

I used some leftover Malabrigo Silky Merino (color “Cape Cod”), which is a gorgeous yarn, with subtle grey/pink variegation. I knit the smallest size but my gauge was a bit off so the size I ended up is probably more of a 6-9 months size, which should be just perfect for next Spring.

I’m very happy with the way it turned out, it was very fast to knit and the lace repeat was easy and fun.

Coming home outfit

So… I had mentioned that I needed to get you all caught up on what’s happening in my neck of the woods. This should partly explain my long silence, too!

As you’ve probably guessed from the title of this post, we are expecting Baby #2, a baby girl!! She should arrive sometime in September. I’ve already knit a few things, including this little outfit:

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The crossover cardigan is an improvisation, it turned out quite small, a true newborn size. I’m happy with the contrasting i-cord edging, that was fun to do and gives it a nice “finished” look I think. I also had the perfect tiny vintage buttons for this project.

For the pants, I meant to follow the Balloon Baby Pants pattern but ended up skipping the increases (didn’t want them too “balloon-ey” after all!) and I also did the crotch differently (didn’t understand the directions). I think they turned out way cute, a bit clown-like, but in a good way :)

As far as the hat, it’s the ubiquitous Aviatrix, which is such a fun and quick little project, especially using the German Short Rows method, which I recommend you google immediately! I did a simple i-cord for the tie instead of the strap and button, because the strap wasn’t the most practical when I made this for Axel, so I always ended up leaving it hanging.

So there you have it, more baby stuff, specifically girl stuff in the pipeline! By the way, any baby name ideas?? Needs to work both in English and French (similar pronunciation if possible)

Clementina

Well, I’m still here!! Now the question is, are you still there too?? Lots going on, which explains my neglect of the old blog, I will definitely have to give you a few updates.

First things first, I recently released a new girl pattern, “Clementina”, (sizes 0-3 months to 5-6 years) which as of now is only available on Ravelry. It should be available in my Craftsy and Etsy stores very soon as well, so stay tuned!

My idea with this design was to keep exploring the Entrechat construction but try to turn it into a regular cardigan shape… My aunt’s words were still echo-ing in my ears: When I showed her the Entrechat prototype, she made a face and said, yes it’s very cute, but I like to knit more practical things… you know, where the baby’s tummy is actually covered!

Point well taken! So I thought long and hard about how to make this work while keeping it fun to knit, and a light-bulb went off! Short Rows! Garter stitch!

Short rows tend to scare people off but they are actually really easy, especially when worked in garter stitch. In general, I use a method called “German Short Rows” — google it! There are tons of tutorials online. It’s so easy and fun, and the results are in my opinion always very seamless and neat.

So here it is, a cute little kimono-style cardi, easy and fun to knit, AND practical as well. You can have buttons down the front instead of the I-cord if you prefer, too. I hope you like it!

P.S.:The yarn is just gorgeous, it’s Malabrigo Rios, which is machine-washable. The shade shown here is “Sunset”.