Another selfish knit done!

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Pattern: Tatie by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne (a.k.a. Ittybitty)

Yarn: De Rerum Natura Gilliatt colorway Aster

Time to Knit: a long time because I was working on many other things as well. But it’s a relatively quick knit. The only thing to watch out for is the length of the crossed loops cables (I made a couple of mistakes.. oh well.)

My mods: Skipped the pockets, did twisted ribbing for the bottom hem, picked up 3 sts per 4 rows for buttonbands, I think I tweaked the width of the buttonbands too, can’t remember exactly. My cowl is a bit shorter, and the cable sequence on it doesn’t start on row 1 (not sure why, maybe I made a mistake somewhere). The sleeves are a bit short because I ran out of yarn.

What I thought about the pattern: Good, straightforward, well-written, though there are a few typos (bits of french leftover in the English version), I must remember to let the designer know. I enjoyed knitting it because the crossed loop cables are fun to knit and don’t require a cable needle. I really liked the yarn too, it’s rustic yet soft (and a good value!), and the finished garment is very lightweight. I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of this cardigan!

What I would do differently next time: maybe make it a size larger and add the pockets? If so, I might position the cables differently on them though. Also, make the sleeves extra long for a comfier fit.

Two more leafy patterns

To complete my mini-collection on the leaf theme, I recently released two more patterns: most recently, the Petites Feuilles Vest, and a couple of weeks ago, the Petites Feuilles Boots.

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The idea behind the vest was that it had to be truly unisex, with a simple yet well-thought-out design. There are a couple of techniques in there that even more experienced knitters might enjoy. I thought the addition of an optional secret pocket would allow knitters to have fun with color pairings as well as use up small amounts of leftover yarn. I like that the pocket bind-off hints at the color of the hidden lining. Also, little kids are usually enthusiastic about pockets, and I’m always thinking about what they’d like, too :)

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When it comes to the boots, the main idea was to make booties that would stay on little wriggly feet, so that meant that ties were a must. In my experience that’s really the only way a bootie will stay on a tiny foot.

I chose garter stitch for the bootie because picking up stitches is so easy and clean with garter stitch (you need to pick up stitches around the sole to work these booties seamlessly), and also, garter is very stretchy, which means that the booties should get a maximum amount of use.

Finally, I wanted the booties to be tall, not only for my leaf motif to fit, but also to make them extra warm and easy to put over pant legs. I also had a vision of my daughter wearing her boots with striped stockings underneath and a short skirt :)

I have to say I am not 100% satisfied with the photos I took for the pattern page, my daughter is constantly on the go and it was very difficult to get a decent shot that would show off the boots properly. Some of my testers, however, made some adorable versions and I made a little montage because they are just too cute (photos used with permission, clockwise from top left, boots by marthajane73, serendipitystitch, sweetbasil and t-a-n-y-a):

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These two patterns, as well as the Petites Feuilles cardigan and the Petites Feuilles bonnet, are available individually and also as part of a 4-pattern bundle with a discounted price.

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All patterns are available in my Ravelry, Etsy and Craftsy stores.

 

Petites Feuilles Bonnet

Check out this little cutie — well, the bonnet isn’t too bad either ;)

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This is another riff on the leaf pattern, and I’m pretty pleased with it. I like bonnets because they stay on when the baby moves his head in the stroller, and provide nice head coverage (thanks to the garter stitch portion this one is especially warm around the ears).

This bonnet is completely seamless, knit flat for the garter portion and then in the round for the crown. Stitches are picked up for the ties.

I used some delicious Mellifera Yarns cash dk (Capri colorway) and this yarn is so wonderfully soft. The color is really vibrant, too.

This little bonnet comes in sizes Newborn to 12-18 months, and it’s now available in my Ravelry, Etsy and Craftsy stores.

New pattern: Petites Feuilles cardigan

I’m a bit late to the party here, since my latest design, Petites Feuilles cardigan, went live a little while ago.

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I knew I wanted to do a spring-themed cardigan with some leaf motifs (“petites feuilles” means “little leaves” in French). Then when Mellifera Yarn‘s beautiful merino dk showed up in my mailbox (Mel came up with the gorgeous “Lawn” colorway when I asked whether if she could come up with a fresh, crisp light green colorway), I felt really inspired and went to work.

And boy this one turned out to be quite a bit of work! But I’m thrilled with the result. My test-knitters were so great in helping me work out kinks [Thanks guys!]

One of the cool things about this cardi (I think) is that the leaf motif is the right side up (stem towards the bottom) AND the body is knit top-down (which I think is a pleasant and practical construction for long-sleeve sweaters). There are quite a few leaf-themed garments that are knit top-down but all of them seem to have the leaf pointing down. Also, I wanted a garter stitch background for those leaves, not reverse stockinette, because I think garter stitch is just more fun to knit and super squishy. Finally, I wanted the leaf motif to be embossed, not flat.

Well, with all of these pre-requisites, it turns out that I had to come up with my own design for the leaf motif, which involved a LOT of trial and error. I also thought I should offer charts in addition to written instructions for this pattern, and there was a bit of a [ahem] learning curve there too!

So, in summary, I pushed myself with this one, and I’m excited about the result. In addition to the cool way it’s constructed, there are also cute details (elbow patches, optional pockets…) that make it a super fun knit.

I am planning on coming up with 3 more designs based on the leaf theme, so it will be a mini-collection if you will! Stay tuned for more leaf-y knits very soon!

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.

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)

Shrugging along!

I’ve come to love shrugs. Shrugs are pretty great. Especially when they are teeny-tiny!

1) They take no time at all to knit.

2) They are perfect to use up that lone skein of luxurious yarn laying in the corner (you know the one, you impulse-buyer you).

3) They are versatile: They dress up a simple shirt and jeans look, and they bring out the colors of a pretty dress.

4) They are the perfect present for little ladies, who seem to have a fondness for them.

Have I mentioned that I have a little lady of my own now? She is still itty-bitty and doesn’t have much say when it comes to the contents her wardrobe yet. I wish I could spend hours sewing and knitting intricate, time-consuming things for her, but since that isn’t possible anymore, I want to maximize the bang for my buck so to speak.

All this to say: I am so excited about this little shrug I’m working on! The design isn’t quite finished yet, but everything is falling into place I think, and here’s a little preview/teaser just for you.

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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