Catch Up post: Madame Entrechat

Since I released my Entrechat pattern almost two years ago, I can’t count the number of requests I’ve received to come up with an adult version. At first, I wasn’t quite sure the style would translate well into a “grown-up” garment: something about the cap sleeves, the ruffly peplum and cropped back really screams “little girl:”

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So I thought about it a lot and, with a few adjustments and the help of some well-placed short rows, I think I achieved a more grown-up look, without taking away from the original design too much, and of course keeping the same fun and unique construction:

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There is an elbow-length sleeve option included in the pattern as well.

Madame Entrechat calls for worsted weight yarn and comes in sizes XS to XXXL. You can find it in my Ravelry, Craftsy, and Etsy stores.

Catching Up post: Silverfox cardigan

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I don’t usually knit cables very much, let alone use them in designs, I’m not sure why, I think I might carry this impression from my beginner-knitter days that they are an expert skill (like fair-isle, steeking etc).

But I do love the look of cables, especially when they don’t overwhelm a garment (well, sometime, cablepaloozas are fun!). I’m particularly fond of garter stitch and cables together, which you don’t see much of for some reason. I think there is a nice contrast between the squishy garter stitch and the disciplined cables imbedded in it, particularly for children’s clothing.

The cable here is very simple and repeated everywhere, so the charts/written instructions aren’t really needed after the first repeat (I really dislike having to constantly refer to a chart, it takes me out of my knitting groove!). I also wanted to do a variation on the raglan yoke, something that looked a bit like a saddle shoulder, featuring that pretty, tight cable. I also used this same cable along the button band and used its natural properties to my advantage: since it pulls the fabric a bit, it naturally lowered the front neckline, meaning no shaping was needed. It stiffness also made the front bands lay very nice and flat.

Finally, I wanted to pay extra attention to the finishing details, including some more intermediate techniques that I haven’t used very much in my patterns: I-cord edgings, I-cord bind-off, grafting (a tiny amount of that only, I promise!!).  The cardigan is worked from the bottom up, completely seamlessly, which I also don’t tend to do, but it was the best option for this design.

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So here’s the result, which I am so proud and happy with. This is another one where my tech-editor and amazing test-knitters were beyond helpful. It’s also one of the handmade things that my daughter has worn the most. For those who are curious, I’m working now on a matching bonnet as well as a beanie. Coming very soon, stay tuned!

Silverfox calls for dk weight yarn and comes in sizes 6 months to 6 years. You can find it in my Ravelry, Craftsy, and Etsy stores.

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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!

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

New pattern: Kyoto crossover cardigan

I so love this one!

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Next on my designing to-do list was coming up with a pretty yet practical unisex crossover cardigan. I think they are so great for babies. As always, I wanted the design to be seamless and fun to knit.

I’ve been obsessing over this pretty stitch for a long time now, but before I actually gave it a try, I had the impression that it would be a bit fiddly to knit. As it turns out, it’s really quite easy and fun to work, and the result is just so gorgeous. It looks especially interesting in slightly variegated yarn.

I used the beautiful Madelinetosh tosh dk (colorway: Curiosity) for the sample seen here. It’s a gorgeous yarn and machine washable too! (I have to admit though that I always handwash my handknits. I’m just paranoid that way, ha!)

Kyoto is available for sale in my Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy stores. Sizes range from 3mo to 6yo.

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”.