Saturday, September 22, 2007

Baby Surprise #1 is off the needles...

This little sweater was sheer pleasure to knit, and it went on and off the needles very quickly. The only part that took me a while to get to was weaving in the ends and finishing the collar. I came across this blog post about weaving in ends when I made it to the last color change, and the information was EXTREMELY useful. Go read it NOW, you'll thank me for pointing this wonderful blog post out.
Now for the details:
Pattern: Babies' Garter-Stitch Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Source: Knitting Workshop (page 157).
Yarn: Lana Grossa Mega Stoppino (65 % wool, 35% acryl, 98 yards/50 g) in 3 different greenish colorways, and one ball of Lana Grossa Furetto (76% wool, 14% acryl, 10% alpaca, 110 yards/50 g) in a greyish green colorway to finish it off. Mega Stoppino has been discontinued so I couldn't find any good colors to finish this off with, hence the fiber change.
Total yardage: 400 yards
Size: 20 inches across the chest.
Needles: US 8 (5 mm)
Buttons: Coconut wood

First, the sizing. I read on KnitWiki that you can change the size by changing your knitting gauge. I went for an Aran weight (or heavier) yarn on US 8 needles in the hopes of getting a jacket that would be big enough for a 1-year old. I fell a bit short of that, but it's still OK because the baby will fit it at some point, considering it hasn't been born yet. I found that the sleeves came in 1 inch short for a 20-inch baby sweater by consuting my few knitting books that contain baby patters, so I picked up stitches at the cuffs and knit an extra inch of garter stitch on each side. I also picked up stitches around the neck opening and knitted 3 rows in garter stitch, and cast off loosely. It didn't really NEED a collar, but I wanted to have the button band color around the collar too. I think it looks neater this way.

Next up: the fibers. I guess it's kind of moot because Mega Stoppino is discontinued, but I am not used to using yarns with acrylic in them. I am a yarn snob, I admit it. But a washable yarn has definite advantages for baby garments. While I would not use this fuzzy acrylicy yarn for myself, I would definitely make things for other people with it, this stuff is not half bad, easy to knit with, and came in some very nice colors. But I can't get it in town anymore except in some very ugly colors. Oh well. Now, when I ran out (haven't I learned the fiber insurance lesson yet?) I picked up another yarn only using color and gauge as the criteria, not washability. I picked up the Furetto. Whoops, it's not superwash! But it's a very nice yarn, and I would use it for myself (even with the acrylic) if I could dream up a good project to incorporate the color mottling, though not self-striping. This yarn is very easy to knit with! Sorry, I don't think it's made it to other countries yet, but keep an eye out for it when it shows up.

The pattern? Loved it. I admit it's weird to see an entire pattern fit on one page, but row by row instructions are not included. I wrote it out in the margins of my photocopy of the tiny little page. And it's easy to work out, no heavy duty math needed. And I didn't need a picture to figure out the assembly, I must have good spatial skills! (That will be put to the test if I ever learn how to parallel park a car.) It was very neat to knit a garment in one piece that isn't circular. Here's some more shots:
Here's the back. How come no one ever shows the back? It's very cool, especially with the color change. I dig the way those double decreases make corners. Here's a close up of my decreases...
Neat right angles. Very cool. I know I shouldn't be so thrilled by it, having been a knitter for all of three years, but very few patterns make use of the ability of double decreases lined up properly to form a sharp 90 degree angle. And increases, for that matter. Here are my increases...
I love it, and am already making another one!


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