Yellow, yellow…

Looks like test knitting is the only kind of knitting I am involved in. I recently finished test knitting the Wheatspikes Vest for Sole and before I knew it, I had signed up for another test knit. I am expecting a few additions in my cousins’ families, so want to knit something warm for the expected babies. I love knitting things for infants because they knit up so fast that they are done before you realize it and kid knits are so cute, aren’t they?

Inge Sandholt’s cardigan is a cute, little cardigan, knit flat, bottom-up using sock weight yarn. I had bought some 2-ply acrylic yarn from Surya Emporium intending to use it for an intarsia-cum-fair isle pullover for my husband, but that never worked out. I started off with the main color but had a fear that I might run out of  yarn, so added a few stripes of a contrast color. It turned out to be a wise decision because I did run out of yarn and I had to knit the sleeves in contrast color.

The pattern is well written and is sized from 0-3 to 24 months. It is ideal for someone who is a newbie knitter and wants to try simple lace which involves slipped stitches and yarn overs. The back was the most boring part to knit. The front parts keep you engaged with the 4-row mock cable pattern. Sleeves, of course, get done in a jiffy. It helped that I made them in stripes so I looked forward to the next color change.

The cardigan is generously sized – even though I knit this one in 0-3 months size, it should easily fit a 6 months old baby. I think it will look great on a baby girl. It does have a feminine look to it.

Pattern: Frank & Mathilda by Inge Sandholt
Yarn: 100 gms. of main color and ~50 gms of contrast color
Needles: US 2 2.75mm straights
Ravelry Project Page

Wheatspikes Vest

When I saw this vest offered for test knit, I decided to volunteer. Not that I have a girl to knit for, but the vest was too cute. I don’t have many girly colors in my stash and I had been wanting to use Phildar Copacabana which Preeti had sent me sometime back. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to use this yarn and so I did.

The vest is knit bottom up in pieces, but can be easily adapted to knit in round, which is what another test knitter did. The pattern is well written and I, for once, did not find any errors in the pattern. Unambiguous and easy to follow instructions and the pattern comes in sizes from 0-3 months to 24 months. It knits up quickly and is perfect for that last minute gift or to use up a lone skein or two. I used around 1.5 skeins and still have half of it left. Wondering if I can make a couple of coasters with it – I just love the fresh, bright colors of this yarn.

I didn’t make buttonholes on the sides thinking the neck ribbing will be stretchy and can stretch over a kid’s head, but when I tried this on my son, there is hardly any elasticity in the ribbed neckband. It could be the yarn’s characteristic or it could be because I knit on a tight gauge. I did go down a couple of needle sizes than the recommended one to get the required gauge, so it could be that! I need to rip the shoulder seam apart and make some buttonholes now.

This goes into my gift stash waiting for a lovely girl to come and claim it.

 

Pattern: Wheatspikes Baby Vest by Sole Pitencil
Yarn: 1.5 skeins of Phildar Copacabana
Needles: US 5 3.75mm straights
Ravelry Project Page

Chocolate ice-cream

… with mango sauce and cream. That’s what this blanket reminds me of.

When my friend Anuradha broke the good news that she is expecting, I decided I will knit something for her baby. I was thinking of making a sweater and a hat – something small so that I can knit it in my busy schedule. To my surprise, Anu decided to take up knitting too. She started with a hat and made a cardigan and a vest. Now that she was making these stuff already and was a knitter herself, I couldn’t possibly give her a teeny-weeny sweater, could I? I had to make something good enough for a knitter. That’s how this blanket got created.

Crochet has been on my need-to-learn-this-skill-because-the-FOs-are-so-awesome list, but never got around to doing that. When I was finalizing a blanket pattern for Anu’s blanket, I decided it had to be crochet. One, if I don’t learn crocheting now, I probably never will and two, I have heard crocheting is way faster than knitting. I used the Neat Ripple Pattern by Lucy (or Attic24 as she is known in the crochet world) and loved it. She has detailed photos for crochet newbies like me. The photos were a big help!

After an initial swatch, I had enough confidence that I can finish this blanket. Next step was the choice of colors. I had bought this yarn from Pydal’s for what would have been a vest for my hubby. I soon realized that this yarn is too flimsy and has no stitch definition, so the most natural choice was a baby blanket. I had lots of brown and just one skein of yellow and off-white. After a bit of calculation, I decided to do a row each of yellow and off-white for every five rows of brown. I knit until I ran out of the off-white yarn.

There are so many mistakes in there that I can’t count. For starters, the edges are wavy and uneven. Expert crocheters tell me that the edges are meant to be wavy, so one less mistake to worry about. The starting rows are too tight, so the blanket is narrower at one end and wider at the other. Since it’s a blanket, I hope it’s ok and I hope the baby doesn’t  mind.

I worked on this blanket for an hour everyday for 3-4 weeks. It would have taken even lesser if I wasn’t so new to crochet. So, it is true, crocheting is definitely faster. My next blanket is going to be a crochet blanket.  I have even bought yarn for it. Going off to look for patterns. Crochet ville, here I come!

As Sweet As Honey Baby Blanket

© Knitcircus

When I was expecting my baby, I decided to knit a blanket for that soon-to-be-arriving special person. Ravelry, with its load of baby blanket patterns, failed to find me something good. I decided to make up the pattern myself. I had very specific requirements: no holey laces, it should have some texture, it should be simple, yet interesting to hold my attention.  The end result is As Sweet As Honey Baby Blanket. This blanket is being overused well used since the last 20 months.

So why am I blogging about this again? That’s because the pattern was released today. My pattern is part of the latest Knitcircus issue.  Can you see me jumping with glee?

Gifted!

I hardly find time to knit these days and even less for blogging. When Elena blogged about needing test knitters for her latest designs, I decided to sign up. One, her designs are adorable and who wouldn’t want to knit them? Two, working on a deadline will pack in a few more minutes of knitting time into my daily schedule. Three, I had to knit something for a little girl as a gift.

French Me is adorable. I liked it the moment I saw the photos on Elena’s blog. The top knits up quickly and looks very cute. The pattern is well written and easy to follow. I love the construction technique in this one. The neckband is knit in round and the stitches are divided for front and back pieces. These are knit flat separately and once you are done with armholes, join them and knit the rest of the body in round. Isn’t that clever? The top has a lacy and plain version. In my opinion, the lace one adds that French look to it. The pattern comes in many sizes. If you are looking for a quick gift for a little lady, look no further. Gosh, I am sounding like those old ads on radio!

Remember that adorable girl who was the recipient of the Feather and Fan blanket? And also the pretty pink sweater? She turned one recently and I had to give her something handmade. The top I test knit was the perfect choice because her mom likes to dress her up only in sleeveless frocks. This top can be worn as a single garment (over tights may be) or can be a good layering element also. When I gave this to Sanskriti, she went bonkers. She liked it so much, she was carrying it around like a toy. When her mom wanted to try it on, she just wouldn’t let her touch it. This was the best ‘thank-you’ I got from a kid! It really feels good when you are efforts are appreciated.

The RAK Hat

When I took up knitting as a hobby, I never realized it will affect and touch my life in so many ways. Ravelry (for those who don’t know, it is a site where knitters come together and knit and chat and do all sorts of things) has increased my friends circle. I met other talented knitters in Bangalore who motivate me to challenge myself in knitting and who urge me to learn crochet. The local group of knitters, fondly called The Bangalore Brigade, meet quite often, though I miss out on most of the meets. Whenever we meet (invariably in Cafe Coffee Day), we gossip, knit, show off our knitted objects, admire others’ work of art and drool over recent yarn possessions. Some sweet ladies even bring gifts for others. In short, my life is rocking, thanks to knitting and Ravelry.

Another important change that knitting has brought in is to bring together knitters across the world. A group called Random Acts of Kindness on Ravelry is especially responsible for this. It is a group of knitters who want to do small gestures of kindness by fulfilling other knitters’ wishes, knitting-related or otherwise.  Non-acrylic yarn is a luxury in India, so a common wish from Indian knitters is yarn. So, when I posted a wish for yarn around 2 years ago, many knitters sent me packages with yarn. Yarn in all possible colors and hues, in hanks and skeins and balls. The yarn that I used to make this hat comes from the same pool of RAKed yarn. The pattern is a RAK from Terri (Azlynn on Ravelry). No prizes for guessing why I call this The RAK Hat.

I was treasuring the yarn all this while and finally and thought it right to use it for this pattern. The Rushty hat looks cute on Ninad and keeps him warm.  The pattern is quick and well written. The earflaps are made using short row techniques and I thought it was really cool. No seaming, just knitting in round and the ear flaps sit snugly on the ears. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a pattern for kid’s hat.

Three unrelated knitters across the world came together to make this hat possible and that is the beauty of knitting and Ravelry.

Itsy Bitsy – Knitting baby stuff

It’s been ages since I have talked about any FO. That does not mean that I haven’t done any knitting, but just didn’t have the time to write about it. Well, what have I done during the hiatus? Lots of things actually.

It’s difficult to choose a pattern when it comes to baby sweaters. All the patterns look so cute. One pattern that stands out is Baby Sophisticate. It is cute, no doubt, but it also has a distinguished look to it which gives babies that grown-up look. I personally think kids look cute when they act all grown-up. I almost made this for Anya, Rima’s little princess, but when Rima knit the same one for her, I decided to knit something else. I am keeping this one for a baby to come along and claim it. The yarn is 3-ply yarn from Pydal. Really soft and has a nice sheen to it. The only problem is the yarn is so thin that I used 3 strands held together for this cardigan.

I decided to make this Pebble vest for Anya. Just when I was about to sew the buttons on and mail it to Rima, she too made the same vest for Anya. I didn’t want to send this vest, but since the day of Anya’s arrival was nearing, I decided to send it anyway, consoling myself that the one Rima made is bigger and mine is smaller, so can be used immediately. The DK yarn is from Pydal and is soft and squishy.

The vest looked so adorable, I made another one for Ninad. I modified the pattern to make it a bit bigger and knit the body in round. This vest looked great too, but I realized that this yarn was not the best choice only after I started using it. The yarn is so squishy that it doesn’t hold any shape at all. Anya’s vest can be easily used by a 2 year old, that’s how stretchy the yarn is. Now I am feeling guilty for using this yarn for Anya’s vest. I should have used a tried and tested yarn. Sorry Anya and Rima if the vest turns out to be unusable.

The moment I saw this pattern on Knitty, I knew I would knit it some day. Kids and ice-cream go well together, don’t they? I was waiting for an opportunity to knit it and I got it when my mom asked me to knit a sweater for my brother’s kid. I finished the front part in just 3 hours. Intarsia was addictive. It’s another matter that I took 2 days to finish the back and 2 weeks to finish the sleeves. One cute sweater and a great pattern. The only drawback is it is not knit in round, but intarsia can’t be knit in round, so that’s how it is. The 8-ply yarn is leftover yarn from Ninad’s blanket. I love this yarn. It’s strong and has good stitch definition. It’s thick, so knits up fast.

So, this is what I had been upto. I also made a adult size sweater for my husband, but that’s for another blog post, when I get to write it.