New Beginnings

Change is the only constant thing, said a wise man once. Some are welcome changes, some not so much. One change which always is welcome is the addition to a family, i.e. arrival of a baby. Don’t try to read something between the lines which doesn’t exist because I am talking about a friend. I have known him for over a decade now. I met him at my very first job, as part of a cultural event. We both are book lovers, so we naturally went onto become friends. Long after I quit that job and hopped onto a few more, we kept in touch, even if it is just for talking about books. He would buy gifts and books for my son, which was very heartwarming. Our friendship strengthened when he went on to marry a friend of mine. Two strong, independent persons coming together to start a new relationship, of which I was somehow part of. My joy knew no bounds. And when the couple called to tell me they are expecting, the first thing that came to my mind (even before I yelled Congratulations!) was what am I going to knit for the baby. I wanted to translate the warm relationship I share with the couple to the knitted items. I didn’t know how, but the knitted items needed to represent the relationships.

A quick dive through my stash turned up this yarn. The softest yarn in the most pleasant colors. I had picked this up on my visit to Singapore and was saving it for a baby to come by and claim it. I wanted this to be a relaxed knit, so my own design was out of the question. Sunnyside pattern seemed like a good choice. I see the twisting cables as the way our lives are twisted together, not in a messy, knotty kind of way, but in a way that looks beautiful and feels warm.

The stockinette part of Sunnyside is easy, and the cables keep it from becoming boring. Top-down, raglan construction with cozy, garter bands on the neckline, sleeve cuffs and the buttonbands.

As much as I love this yarn and can’t get enough of its softness, I did not like it for this pattern. The yarn is loosely plied, to an extent that it is splitty and the cables don’t stand out enough. I still like the end result. It may not be dense and sharp as I like my sweaters to be, but it is soft and warm, which I think babies will prefer.

I still have about half the ball of yarn left, so there will be a hat and may be booties in the near future.

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Sunnyside
Yarn: Patons Australia Big Baby 4 Ply

 

 

Just Chill

I have been a lurker on the Contiguous Sleeves group on Ravelry since a long time. I was introduced to this technique by Elena Nodel when I test knitted her Tomboy Vest. Since then, I wanted to knit more sweaters made with this technique, but as it always happens, never had the time. When Just Chill was put out for testing, which uses a combo of saddle shoulders with contiguous sleeves, I utilized this great opportunity to learn this technique better. Of course the handsome sweater was a factor too.

Just Chill is seamless and knit top down. The two toned look, combined with the saddle shoulders make this sweater very handsome and masculine. The pattern is beginner friendly, with clear instructions. The only tricky part for a beginner could be the attached I-cord for the buttonbands. Well, what is the fun in knitting a sweater which doesn’t offer any challenge.

I chose Knit Picks Shine Worsted in Platinum and Willow. I even had perfect buttons to go with it. Love the wooden look of the buttons. I am racking my brain to recall where I bought this, but it is drawing a blank.

This sweater is headed to Ahmedabad to meet its recipient, Vihaan, a handsome little nephew of mine. He is the latest addition to my huge, extended family and this is my welcome gift to him. My cousin lost her first baby just before she was due for delivery, so this baby is so much more special for her and for us all. Here is wishing Vihaan a long and fruitful life in this world.

New Pattern: Grown-up Hira

Hira is light and breezy and is great for layering on a cold summer evening. It can be worn over a pretty evening dress or make it casual by pairing with jeans and a tee. The beads on the collar and the sleeves jazz up the cardigan turning the simple cardigan into a special-occasion-wear. I just love the beads on the sleeves, if I say so myself.

Hira is knit from the top-down with raglan sleeves. After the body-sleeves split, the body is worked flat with waist shaping. Sleeves are knit in the round. Stitches for the collar are picked and worked flat, knit to the double the width with a garter ridge, over which the collar gets folded and sewn in place. Don’t worry, the sewing is on the wrong side, so not publicly visible at all.

Grown-up Hira is women’s version of Hira, so you can make a mother-daughter cardigan if you like.

Ravelry Pattern: Grown-up Hira by Anjali M.
Yarn Suggested: Madelinetosh Pashmina
Needle Size: US #6 4 mm for the body

A weekend well spent

We had a long weekend over here in India, owing to October 2nd being a national holiday. I had planned to get a lot of things done over these holidays (one of them being taking long naps, which I did to the fullest) and I am happy I could finish many of those things.

My Bernina had been giving me angry looks every time I caught a glimpse of her and rightfully so. I have hardly put her to use ever since I got her home. I decided to set things right and planned to make a fitted bedcover for a foldable bed we have. I used this tutorial which is very clear and helpful for sewing noobs like me. Even though I followed the rule of ‘measure twice, cut once’, I still ended up with a cover which was too loose. I am guessing my elastic turned out too short for the length/breadth of the cover. I had to add some strings for a good fit. I will not show you the ugly side, but leave you with the beautiful one. It does look good, eh?

I wanted a cable for a new design I am working on. I swatched some 3-4 cable stitch patterns before finding something I liked. Found the cable, got the gauge, crunched some numbers, cast on and the garment is half done. Good progress!

I finally, finally, finally finished the body and started working on the collar on my Big Hira, which is the adult version of Hira.

Yarn is the yummy Madelinetosh Pashmina in Winter Wheat colorway. I got these pearls from Itsy Bitsy and I think they go really well with the yarn.

I have been wanting to make some stitch markers of my own since ages. I got all the material long back, but never had the time to sit down and make some markers. Hubby taught me everything from holding the pliers to twisting the wire. I am very happy with how these turned out. This deserves a separate post, so leaving you with a sneak peek.

After the well spent weekend, I am back to work with a lot of energy. I wish we had more such weekends in the future. How was your weekend?

New Pattern: Hira

Around a year back, when I saw the Quilted Lattice Stitch in one of the Barbara Walker’s Treasury books, I knew I had to use this for a girl’s cardigan. I was in love with the collared-open-look cardigans and this stitch seemed to be perfect for that. I made my first sample using sports weight yarn and was mighty pleased with the result. I worked on grading and released the pattern to testers. While the testers testing the smaller sizes were very happy with the cardigan, the bigger sizes had a problem of the raglan edge puckering up. It was so bad for the biggest two sizes that I was completely disappointed with my designing (or lack of) skills. As I continued to knit from other designers’ patterns and work on my own design skills, I realized what was the problem with the original Hira. I redid everything using fingering weight yarn, re-graded, got it re-tested and I present you Hira take two.

Ravelry Pattern: Hira by Anjali M.
Yarn Suggested: SweetGeorgia Merino Silk Fine
Sizes: Chest size 18″ – 32″


I used SweetGeorgia Merino Silk Fine in Pomegranate colorway. The different shades of pink and purple in this colorway are soft and subtle. These pictures do not do justice to the amazing colors, but I had to be satisfied with these. Felicia of SweetGeorgia yarns is so sweet (is it why the yarn name has ‘sweet’ in it?) and agreed to send me some yarn for the sample. The yarn is buttery soft, has lovely stitch definition and the silk content adds a shine and drape to this. Knitting with this yarn was a pleasure in itself. The stitches just glide over the needles like butter.

I made the non-beaded version, but one of my testers, Steph, made the beaded one and I love it. Her choice of yarn color and the beads work so well, do you agree?

I am so pleased with this cardigan that I am planning to make one for myself. Do you think this cardigan will work in adult sizes? Would you do any modification to make this work for bigger girls?

Name it and Win it: Pattern Giveaway

I have a new design for a girl’s spring cardigan which is in test knitting phase right now. As always, I had very little trouble in deciding on the yarn and the stitch pattern, but I am unable to come up with a good name. I turn to you all for help again to find a name for this design.

This cardigan is intended to be worn open. The collar has quilted lattice stitch pattern which can be worked plain or using beads. See the pictures for inspiration and let me know your suggestions. There will be two winners this time. Read on for details.

 

Here are the rules:

1. Leave a comment on this post with your suggestions.
2. No limit on the number of names you can suggest
3. If I decide to use the name you suggested, you will win a copy of the pattern, sent to you as Ravelry gift or PDF e-mailed to you.
4. Contest ends on June 20 2012.
5. Winner will be announced once the pattern goes live.
6. As a thank you to the other participants, I will draw a name randomly who will win a copy of this pattern.

Put on your thinking cap and let me know what you would name this cardigan.

New Pattern: Aviva

Aviva, Hebrew word for springtime, is a lacy spring cardigan. The elegant lacy body is accentuated by German rib collars and hems. Aran weight yarn combined with a simple 2-row repeat of lace pattern makes this cardigan a quick knit.
Aviva has a very different construction. The back is knitted up and the neck stitches are bound off. The two fronts are knitted separately and then seamed to the back. Collar is knit by picking up stitches along the fronts and the neck.

This was the first time I used a model for a photoshoot and had a great experience. Shristi, a friend and a budding model, graciously accepted to model for my cardigan. The photographer is Ajo who is again a friend and an upcoming photographer. The combination was perfect: designer, model and photographer – all amateurs and trying to establish in their respective worlds.

Here are the pattern details.

Ravelry Pattern: Aviva by Anjali M.
Yarn Suggested: Knit Picks Swish Tonal
Needle Size: US #7 4.5 mm