Stella

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Stella by Linden Down

Meet Stella, a baby Estelle! For a while now I’ve thought that, or course, Estelle would be pretty cute as a baby sweater and when I came up with calling the baby sweater Stella . . . well, it had to be done!

DSC_0300Stella has a slightly different shape than Estelle, with a more pulled in neckline (although the neck is still wide, mostly because I assume babies don’t like tight collars). The sweater is worked from the top down with a round yoke. The pattern is designed to be worn with two to three inches of positive ease. Stella comes in five sizes: 3, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months with finished chest measurements of 20 (21, 22, 23, 24)”/ 51 (53.5, 56, 58.5, 61) cm.

DSC_0293I’ve knit Stella in a wonderful fingering weight yarn from Sweet Fiber Yarns called Super Sweet Sock. The yarn is an 80% superwash merino, 20% nylon blend and comes in some lovely colors (I went with Bloom for the sample). The gauge for Stella is 7 sts/ 9 rows per inch in stockinette stitch. You would need approximately 305 (370, 450, 490, 545) yds fingering weight yarn, so 1 (1, 2, 2, 2) skein(s) if you’re going with Super Sweet Sock.

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Stella is available for 6.50 (USD) as a download in my Ravelry Store or through Paypal.  Just click below!

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Baby & Child Sophisticate!

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It’s finally ready! Here is the updated, improved and expanded version of Baby Sophisticate I’ve had in the works for a while. I’m so excited to have this pattern finally available in expanded sizes!

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The new pattern includes an updated construction, corrected sizing (since the original pattern ran small) and many more sizes. Baby & Child Sophisticate includes baby sizes of 3 (6, 12, 18, 24) months with finished chest measurements of 20 1⁄4 (21, 22, 22 3⁄4, 24 1⁄4)”/ 51.5 (53.5, 56, 58, 61.5) cm and child sizes 2 (4, 6, 8, 10) with finished chest measurements of 25 (26 3⁄4, 29, 30 1⁄2, 32 1⁄4)”/ 63.5 (68, 73.5, 77.5, 82) cm.

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I’ve knit this new version of the pattern in Knit Picks Swish Worsted (the samples are Squirrel Heather) which is 100% Merino wool and superwash (so, perfect for babies and kiddos). The gauge for the updated pattern is 4.5 sts/ 6 rows per inch in stockinette stitch.

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The free version of Baby Sophisticate will always remain available so that everyone will have access to the extensive notes of those who have knitted the pattern before and the wonderful translations made by fellow Ravelers. This pattern is simply an extension of the original for those interested in more sizes, improved sizing for the 3 and 6 month sizes and construction updates.

DSC_0399Both the baby and child sizes are included in the new pattern. The new pattern follows the same general logic as the original, with a few improvements such as more accurate sizing, as I said, a better fitting underarm, more detailed instructions on the construction of the collar and improved instructions for the buttonholes.

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Baby & Child Sophisticate is available for 6.50 (USD) as a download in my Ravelry Store or through Paypal.  Just click below!

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Quill Heirloom Baby Blanket

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One of my best friends from high school is having a baby in about a month. They are not finding out if it’s a boy or a girl until the big day, so I was a little bit unsure about what to knit! While there are a lot of great gender-neutral patterns out there, I tend to like baby sweaters that fall in the “super-girly” or “little-man” camps. Once the wee one is here, I may make him or her a little outfit, but before that I wanted to get something ready for my friend’s shower.

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Then it occurred to me that my friend has always had a love for the traditional. I started thinking that maybe I wanted to knit a beautiful heirloom baby blanket – one that could wrap up all of her future children as well – in a traditional pattern and in a beautiful natural colored yarn. Admittedly, this realization was probably brought on by the fact that I was knitting a Quill shawl (by Jared Flood of Brooklyntweed) for myself out of a gorgeous gray yarn (almost done, pictures soon!), and the pattern suggested that the shawl would work well as an heirloom baby blanket. So, I ran out to the local yarn shop and picked up a couple of balls of Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace, a lovely mix of alpaca and silk, and started knitting another Quill!

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This is a beautiful pattern with the traditional structure of a Shetland Hap Shawl. I knit the smaller size, which ended up blocking out to about a 40 inch square. I love the Old Shale Lace pattern, which I happen to think looks like rows and rows of little tiaras (like the one Kate Middleton wore?), and the edging is just gorgeous – takes a while – but is just gorgeous! Here she is blocking.

DSC_0374The Silky Alpaca Lace worked really nicely with this pattern. I bought two balls initially, but had to run back to the store to get a third ball (the day I had to finish it for it to make it to the shower!) because I just didn’t have quite enough yarn to finish the edging! I weighed the third ball before and after, and determined that I used about 35 yards (out of 440 yds in the ball). Anyone need a mostly unused ball of Silky Alpaca Lace? :) It was all worth it in the end, though, because I think this blanket is beautiful. The fabric is light and delicate, but very warm thanks to the alpaca. We’re all excited for your arrival in the world, Baby O, and I’m so happy to contribute something to keep you warm and snug.

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Turned Hem Tutorial

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My latest pattern Jacqueline features a turned stockinette hem on the sleeves and body and since this isn’t the most common technique I thought I would post a small tutorial on how to do it! Let’s dive right in!

Start by working a provisional cast-on with waste yarn. I typically use a crochet cast-on. Begin by chaining a couple of stitches.

DSC_0321Next you will start chaining onto your knitting needle. Place the knitting needle on top of the working yarn, hook the yarn and pull it through the loop on your hook over the knitting needle.

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DSC_0324Move the working yarn back so that your knitting needle is again on top of the working yarn and continue until you have cast on the correct number of stitches.

DSC_0325Once you have the correct number of cast-on stitches, chain a few more stitches off of the needle. Your needle should look something like this.

DSC_0327Now you can start knitting with your project yarn into the cast-on stitches.

DSC_0331Jacqueline calls for you to work 5 rows in stockinette stitch, a turning row in which you break up the stockinette stitch with a row of purl bumps and cast-on additional stitches for the ribbing panel, and then 5 more rows in stockinette stitch (plus the ribbing section). So in the case of this pattern, your work should look something like this.

DSC_0346You now need to transfer those provisionally cast-on stitches to a needle so you can work with them. To do this, unravel the last stitch that you chained so that you can “unzip” your crochet chain and begin to pick up the live stitches that are now exposed.

DSC_0350To join the hem, fold the fabric at the turning row so that the wrong sides of the work are touching and the live stitches on both needles are aligned. On the next row, you are going to purl across, purling through the stitch on both needles for each stitch.

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Here’s how the hem should look after you have consumed all of the provisionally cast-on stitches. There will be one less cast-on stitch than your working stitches, so you will purl one stitch from your working needle by itself (i.e. there is no cast on stitch for you to purl with it).

DSC_0359And from the front . . .

DSC_0361Here is your hem after a few more rows of knitting in pattern.

DSC_0363DSC_0364I hope this is helpful for anyone struggling with the hem for Jacqueline (or any other hemmed pattern for that matter)! Let me know if anything could be made clearer.

Oblique

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You may remember (but probably don’t) when I started a beautiful sweater years ago out of Berroco Ultra Alpaca. The pattern was Oblique by Véronik Avery from Knitty Fall 2007. I had some really cool buttons with an old coin design that I thought would look great since the buttons are so important for this pattern.

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Well, I finished the sweater! I love this pattern and think it makes a gorgeous sweater – the only problem for me is that the one I made was way too big! I decided to modify the pattern to be seamless instead of knitted flat, but my main problem is that the alpaca yarn stretched like crazy. The sleeves and body both ended up way too long (especially the sleeves . . .). I thought about ripping back and reknitting some of the sweater, but luckily I have a very tall friend and it just felt better to give it to her instead! Tada – instant Christmas present for Kristen! And it fits her perfectly!

DSC_0324I’m definitely going to have to knit this again for myself (paying particular attention to sizing!) because I love this sweater and want to wear it. The pattern is very well written and really fun because of all of the stitch pattern changes. I also think the style is very flattering!

DSC_0327My modifications mainly consisted of knitting the fronts and back together from the bottom up to the underarms, knitting the sleeves in the round up to the underarms and then joining them and working a traditional raglan yoke. I’ve just realized that I think this sweater was also my first exposure to twisted ribbing – oh what an influence it turned out to be! :)

 

Basketweave Baby Blanket

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DSC_0258 As a part of my baby knitting spree, I decided to make another basketweave baby blanket like the green one I made for my cousin’s son a couple of years ago. This time (since the baby is a girl!) I decided to go with a really soft pink called Shell in the same Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton as the original blanket. I love this basketweave pattern and think it’s perfect for a cozy baby blanket. (I also made a simple little stockinette hat from a pattern in my head; if you’re looking for a similar pattern try the Umbilical Cord Hat by Jennifer Jones).

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I’ve had some requests for the pattern used to make my basketweave baby blanket, and since it’s pretty much just a simple stitch pattern with a garter stitch border I figured I would just post what I did here instead of making up a pattern pdf. I used 4 skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton with a US size 6 needle, but I’m a very loose knitter so I would suggest going up a size or two (the ball band calls for US 7-9). My blanket ended up approximately 28″ x 28″.

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BASKETWEAVE BABY BLANKET
CO 111 sts (using crochet cast on if you would like it to match the bind off edge).
Knit 10 rows.
Pattern Row 1 (RS): K5, p1, k3, [p5, k3] to last 6 sts, p1, k5.
Pattern Row 2 (WS): K6, p3, [k5, p3] to last 6 sts, k6.
Pattern Row 3 (RS): Knit across.
Pattern Row 4 (WS): K10, [p3, k5] to last 5 sts, k5.
Pattern Row 5 (RS): K5, [p5, k3] to last 10 sts, p5, k5.
Pattern Row 6 (WS): K10, [p3, k5] to last 5 sts, k5.
Pattern Row 7 (RS): Knit across.
Pattern Row 8 (WS): K6, p3, [k5, p3] to last 6 sts, k6.
Repeat pattern rows 1-8 until your blanket is the desired length (ending with row 1 so that the pattern matches that at the cast on edge) or until you have just enough yarn left for the 10 garter stitch rows for the top border.
Knit 10 rows.
BO all sts in knit.
 
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 Please let me know if you have any issues with the pattern!

Jacqueline

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I am so excited to be releasing my newest pattern, a retro double-breasted cardigan called Jacqueline! I think the inspiration for the name is pretty obvious – I was definitely going for a vintage Jackie O look.

The body and sleeves of Jacqueline are knitted from the bottom up and joined at the underarms to work a traditional raglan yoke. A turned hem is worked at the bottom of the sleeves and body to create a clean edge. Twisted ribbing travels up the front of the sweater and six buttons make the closure. A fold-over collar (worked seamlessly from the body) gives a sweet and cozy finish to the sweater. Three-quarter length sleeves make this a fall appropriate garment, but could easily be lengthened for colder weather.

The pattern is offered in nine sizes, ranging from a finished bust measurement of 32 to 64 inches. The sweater was designed to be worn with 2″ of positive ease at the bust. Jacqueline calls for a worsted or aran weight yarn and I used Lorna’s Laces Worsted Solid in Pine for mine. The required gauge is 18 sts/24 rows per 4″ in Stockinette stitch and 24 sts/24 rows per 4″ in twisted 1×1 rib. At such a large gauge, this sweater knits up very quickly!

The pattern is available for 6.50 (USD) as a download in my Ravelry Store or through Paypal.  Just click below!

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Some Booties for a New Baby

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One of my lifelong friends recently had her second daughter and I pretty much went on a baby-knitting-spree! I will admit, this is partly because this is the first girl baby to come along in a while and I really, really wanted to knit some baby girl stuff. It’s also really special to knit for this baby girl because her sister, born a few years ago when I first started knitting, just happens to be the first person in this world that I ever knit anything for. Back then, I went to Hobby Lobby and picked up one of those Lion Brand “pound of love” skeins in yellow and knit the baby pattern that came on the back of the ball band (it was simply stockinette and seed stitch stripes with a seed stitch border and a little hood). I also decided that I wanted to knit a little baby hat, and, in what I can only see now as foreshadowing of my design ambitions (though I didn’t see it that way at the time), I decided to make up the pattern myself. I ended up with a simple ribbed hat, but, get this – I had to seam up the decreases at the crown because I didn’t quite comprehend that I could make those little triangular shapes at the top of the hat all at the same time! I ended up with this flat piece of knitting with a bunch of points (like one of those paper crowns you get from restaurants as a kid) that I sewed up. Oh my goodness. It was a hat in the end though! It even had a pom pon!

In any case, I have much more experience now, and I’ve knit a few things for this new baby. I’ve been wanting to knit the Saartje’s booties pattern by Saartje de Bruijn for a long time now, so I was very excited to have the opportunity to knit these for a baby girl. I had some pink yarn left over from a baby sweater (that I will post about soon), so I decided to make a set.

Saartje’s pattern is easy to follow, but I decided to knit the booties in the round. Quite a few people have written up seamless versions of this pattern on Ravelry, so if you’re interested in doing the same try a search over there. I didn’t use anyone else’s pattern and just knitted them up the way it made sense to me – I used Judy’s magic cast on to eliminate the seam at the bottom of the foot, then worked the same foot shaping outlined in the pattern.

The yarn is Sweet Fiber Yarn Super Sweet Sock in Bloom. I’m in love with these little baby shoes! The light pink buttons are the same as those on the matching sweater, and I just think the whole effect is too cute!

 

Winter 2012 Twist Collective – Zenith

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Photo copyright Carrie Bostick Hoge and Twist Collective

My very first pattern published in twist collective! I’m still pretty giddy from the whole thing, even though the pattern was accepted months ago and I’ve had to keep my quiet about it for, like, ever. When I sent in my submission, I had actually already worked up the pattern and knitted a sweater for myself, but I also sent in a picture of my swatch and my sketch.
You can see that as the pattern evolved from the sketch I decided not to make the collar quite as deep and I shortened the ribbing on the sleeves a bit.  After the pattern was accepted, a few more changes were made in the next version and now we have Zenith! My main inspiration for the sweater was the super-trendy chevron thing that is going on right now and I wanted to repeat that pattern for a subtle texture all over the cardigan. I was also going through a vertical twisted ribbing phase when I designed this sweater and you know I can never resist a shawl collar.

I started with figuring out how I wanted to work the chevrons, and I settled on a simple purl bump pattern. It took me a while to decide exactly how to do the ribbed collar because I needed the edge to look nice on both sides since it would be folded over. I finally decided to go with an i-cord edge that is worked simultaneously with the body.

As for the construction of the sweater, it is knit in 5 pieces (6 if you count the belt) and seamed. The sleeves are set in, and the shoulder seams are finished using a three-needle bind off. The ribbing for the collar is worked past the shoulder (imagine you place the shoulder stitches on a holder and then continue to knit only the ribbing so that you will have a strip of ribbing that extends past the shoulders) on both sides, then the collar pieces are joined at the center back neck with kitchener’s stitch and finally the whole collar is sewn to the back neck. I know that’s a long explanation, but I promise it makes sense as you’re doing it!

I’m so excited about this pattern and I really hope people like it and enjoy knitting it! The pattern is written for nine sizes, ranging from 34 3/4″ to 67 3/4″ bust. The yarn I used for the twist sample was the lovely elann.com Peruvian Sierra Aran in Plum Heather (be sure to check out the yarn website where Zenith is the featured pattern for this yarn and there is another picture of the sweater!) If you’d like to take a look at even more pictures, head on over to the pattern page on twist collective. And don’t forget to look at the other amazing patterns in this issue!

Photo copyright Carrie Bostick Hoge and Twist Collective

Handspun Thorpe

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My first finished object from my own handspun! You may remember a few posts a looong time ago about me trying to learn to spin, and that I was at one time working on a really lovely batt from Brains and Beauty Yarn. Just to recap, the batt was BFL, silk, sari silk and angelina and was called Autumn Glory. Well, I finished spinning it and it is my best finished handspun yet!  And it was actually kind of fun this time (less frustratingly slow).

I didn’t have that much yarn in the end, so I decided to make something small and I thought Kirsten Kapur’s Thorpe would be perfect – if I only had enough for the top of the hat, I could finish the garter stitch portion in a different color. As it turned out, though, I had enough for the whole hat and just needed to work the crochet in a contrasting yarn (some left over plymouth yarn homestead from a long time ago (like, before this blog existed) when I knitted a wedding blanket for some good friends).

I’m so excited with how this hat turned out – the yarn knitted up very evenly (victory!) and the colors are gorgeous! I also couldn’t resist including some gigantic pom pons at the end of my braids since this was already a really fun accessory. The pattern is worked from the top down and has great little details like the garter stitch edge being longer in the back than the front. It’s a super simple knit, but really fun and I love the contrasting crochet on the edge. Here’s Sophie enjoying the hat (I tried to get her when she was swatting at it, but this was the best I could do).

I would highly recommend the pattern, and I just have to say that it is really exciting to see something that started out as a big pile of fluff end up as a wearable object! Obviously Sophie loves the hat, however my family has advised me that I should never wear it like this (otherwise, I think they like it too).

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