Saturday, August 8, 2009

Happy Weekend

This Saturday has been one of those days that you just want to cuddle up with your hubby (or any person of your choosing) on the couch, pop a movie in, and do a little crafting. I woke up this morning to pouring rain and it has continued to rain for most of the day. So I got a little knitting done (yes!) The "project du jour" was finishing up a sweater from a new book I got at my most recent trip to the local yarn store. I finally got the project casted off and blocked today. I still have to sew up the arm pit - but I'm close enough to call it done.
The book I knit the sweater from is called "Early Arrivals 3" by Sirdar. It was 25 designs that they recommend using Snuggly DK and 4 ply yarn for. The designs are for super tiny preemies to 12 months. I got the book because it's extremely hard to find cute patterns for preemies and the hospital could use some cute donations.
To kick off the book I knit the "Frill Edge Cardigan" following the directions for the V neck cardigan version (they also offer a round neck version). I knit the 0-6 month size using Sirdar's Juicy Dk yarn (a cotton/bamboo blend) in place of the recommended Snuggly Dk yarn. The Juicy yarn translated fine in the pattern - my gauge was perfect using size U.S. 5 needles (one size smaller than the recommended U.S. 6 - but I knit loosely). All in all, the sweater turned out ok. The pattern was pretty easy to read. I believe there must be errata out there somewhere for this cardigan because I ran into a stitch count problem towards the end of the pattern but I was able to wing it just fine. I also winged a couple of areas where they had you do some counter intuitive knitting steps and I overruled them:
  1. Sleeves - they have you knit them flat and seam them. I just knitted them in the round and boy I am I glad I did. When the sweater was done I only had armpit holes to seam.
  2. You have to cast on hundreds of stitches for the ruffle at the bottom. I used the 2 skein technique to avoid running out of yarn which I do so often with the long tail cast on method (you knot the ends of two skeins together and start casting on at the knot with the long tail method. When you have the desired amount of stitches you cut the yarn you don't plan to knit with and weave in the end. You then knit with the yarn that is left. Voila! You can't run out of yarn!)
  3. They have you cast off the remaining stitches when you are finished with the back of the sweater. Keep those stitches on a needle holder!! You will knit them when you pick up stitches around the edge for the button border! It makes it much quicker as you don't have to pick up so many stitches and it really looks cleaner.
OK - enough about the pattern. All in all it was a decently written pattern. Not the way I like to knit but it worked. Moving on to the decisions that I made: The Yarn. The Sirdar Juicy yarn is super soft and slinky which is perfect for a baby but it was also extremely easy to split since there is no twist to the yarn. Therefore there are 3 areas where there is a split thread that shows. On wool I don't think you would notice, but this yarn is not forgiving! It shows every little detail of your knitting - from even gauge (or lack thereof) to little splits. Would I knit with this again? No, probably not. I would knit with a yarn that has a little more spring in it but that's my personal preference. I'm not a fan of slinky yarns.
The color of the yarn was called papaya even though it is a very khaki colored yarn. When I think of papaya I think of peach or oranges but there's not a hint of that here (thank goodness). I finished the cardigan off with a little silver elephant button which I thought was kind of cute.
All in all this project took me 3 evenings to complete.

Sorry about my ramblings. Since this book is fairly new I thought I would review the pattern. Next I'm moving on to knit the "Design A" raglan cardigan in the smallest preemie size - a whopping 10 1/4 inch chest measurement. It will be like knitting doll clothes, I'm sure.

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