Thursday, May 10, 2007

Baby's Covered For Several Years-Part 1

My original thought was to make a baby sweater, for a baby, before the baby was born. I checked all of EZ's books out of the library system (I didn't have to wait long for any of them...knitters in Wisconsin either already have them or I caught them all sleeping!) read ferociously and decided on the Tomten. Actually, my heart was set on the BSJ but I Did have to wait for that particular book and I had to start the sweater quickly. Babies have a way of arriving right around the 9-month point and I only had about 3 months to go before the Person of Unknown Gender arrived.

We met the family of the baby during the 4 year period of our Alpaca Adventure and became good friends. Although we no longer have the actual alpacas grazing and pooping on our farm, we have a room full of yarn and roving and fleece. Since our initial contact with our friends was through the Alpaca World and since our friends are still heavily involved in the business what could be more obvious a choice for this small sweater than ALPACA! I dug around in my stash and found a sport weight white that I could dye their signature purple and put it with my favorite dark brown to make a striking sweater to fit both a boy or a girl!

First, to dye. I had earlier dyed some of my own handspun (my first) using Cushing Dye in "Red Grape." I really liked the shade of purple so I went to my local rug hooking store and picked up a packet of dye. I also thought this would be a perfect opportunity to try out a new dyeing technique. So combining the information on the dye packet ("this will dye 1 pound of fiber") and the instructions for crock pot dyeing I stuffed 1 pounds worth of yarn, roving, and a pair of Lovikka mittens I made for a belated Christmas present. I saw my mistake shortly after I finished cramming the yarn gently into the pot. I had purple water running over the side of the pot and onto the white kitchen countertop. After bailing and bleaching and Gently Stirring, I completed the process. I was hoping for a nicely uniform color throughout but instead I got a Gorgeous Variegated yarn in shades of Red Grape. (Thankfully the mittens were mostly uniform.) The roving, btw, is a bit felted but will make a lovely thick fulled "something" someday.

Back to the Tomten. I tried following all of EZ's advice. Check your gauge, relax, check your gauge, think and meditate, check your gauge, control your knitting, check your gauge....

Some kind of weird gremlin was in my needles because no matter what size I used, I had the same gauge. So I figured I'd be tightening up at some point and since it's a baby he/she'd be able to use the thing at some point. The size 6!

Since the brown yarn was more in the way of a worsted weight, I used one strand of the brown and 2 strands of the purple. Not all together! Brown with purple stripes and one fawn stripe. (Fawn is alpacaspeak for tan.)

I Owned my knitting. I didn't make any short rows across the back despite EZs admonition that this will keep it from riding up. I strolled through the body and up the fronts and back. When I came to a direction that made no sense (this is NOT a reflection on Mrs. Zimmermann by any means!) I did what I thought I should and it didn't turn out badly. I became concerned about the amount of yarn I had left. I still needed to do the sleeves which, I felt was more important than the hood, so I knitted up so that there would be enough for a collar, left the stitches on the cord (I'm using my Options set) and proceeded down the arms.

I was adding stripes where ever I wanted to and when I sewed up the last arm seam, all I had left was to decide Yes or No to the hood and how to finish the front.

Not being overly fond of tinking and getting ready to move on to the next thing, I decided No to the hood and concentrated my efforts on the trim. I decided to put an I-cord trim on the front edges and finish with a zipper (not an option for embellishment offered in "Knitting Without Tears"'s that for being in Control of My Knitting?!).

Then I saw a method for making I-cord loop buttonholes and the decisiveness just left my body.

Another bump in the road to knitted bliss is the fact that with No Hood, I have an inside edge that will now be showing on the outside! How bad does it look?

So I finished one side with the I-cord to the top and the other side I made the I-cord long enough to double back over the outside edge of the collar.

Now what?

Oh, btw, the baby, a boy, was born in April and is busy depriving his parents of sleep.

Also, this 6-9 month sweater turned into a kindergarten sweater. Maybe not quite kindergarten but he won't be wearing it any time soon. So I got a bit of time to waffle back and forth with my decisions.

And I just finished a pair of Side Step Baby socks for the current 6 months. More on those the next post.