Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The eight day baby sweater

I've had this yarn sitting around since Christmas (it was a gift), and I've been going back and forth about how to use it. It's incredibly soft, but a bit frustrating to knit with. I experimented with a baby hat:
baby hat

And thereupon decided that it wouldn't be the most flattering yarn to use for a sweater or other big wearable item for myself. Although the colors are lovely (purpley/grey/tan), it leans to the lumpy side when knit up, even at a tight gauge.

So then I learned that my cousin is expecting a baby girl in September, and her preferred color is purple. Babies look dandy in lumpy things (since even smooth clothing gets lumpy in a hurry when you're bundled into someone's arms). It seems that I always run into this problem, though: I have the yarn, I have the general idea, but I don't have a pattern.

After much searching on-line, I was unable to find a simple, straightforward baby sweater that called for yarn at my gauge (seriously - is everyone knitting baby sweaters from fingering weight yarn??). Most patterns had cables and bobbles and buttons and ties. They have separate sleeves, hoods, and so on. Then I chanced upon this again - a very simple baby sweater with several options. It was no where near my gauge (the pattern called for 5 stitches/inch while my yarn claimed it would be about 4 stitches/inch). So I crunched the numbers and hoped for the best.

Note - I didn't actually swatch, just, you know, assumed my gauge would be in the ballpark of the yarn manufacturer's claims.

I cast on a reasonable number of stitches and knit a few inches. Then I checked my actual gauge and found I was off by about 10%. A few decreases later and I was knitting the appropriate width for the sweater bottom. Cool, I thought, a nice flared bottom to the sweater. How very 60's. I continued in this vein for the entire sweater, cutting the stitch count from the pattern by about 30% to approximate something reasonable and fitting.

The end result?
julie baby sweater
I spruced it up a bit with some embroidery while driving back for the shower - no pictures, though
It looks like a baby sweater, and it feels like something you'd like to snuggle a little one in. I think it passes the test, but we'll find out this winter when my cousin tries to shoe-horn her kid into it. And yes - the joys of knitting for babes. Eight days of little effort and I have a whole sweater to show for it.


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