Easy Baby Knits by Claire Montgomerie at Half Priced Books a couple of years ago. It is a compilation of patterns for clothing and accessories for babies up to 3 years old. The designs are lovely, basic, and elegant with a classic/vintage feel. The only negative comment that I have is that you have to be very aware of gage and double check it against the intended size of the pattern. Of course, this could just be an issue idiosyncratic to my knitting. I had the sizing come out a bit funky on the Overalls pattern, even though I have met gauge, and have had to frog back quite a bit to make some adjustments to get it back on track. Of course, it could be the yarn I chose too - Caron Simply Soft, which I am beginning to hate. Once it is used up out of my stash, I'll never buy it again.
The second to the last pattern in this book is Special Baby Gift Bib (page 116). It is a basic, fast, very easy knit and I love it. It would be a wonderful first pattern for a beginner knitter. Most people would not think to knit a bib for a gift so you know that it will be a unique handmade thing to give. Also, if made with a standard cotton yarn like Sugar'n Cream or Peaches & Creme, this is a nice absorbent dribble catcher that covers most of baby's torso, which is the whole point. Speaking as a mother of two, I can tell you absorbent is nice, especially during the teething phase when my little ones wore their bibs every waking moment.
Me, being me, I did not like the pattern's original hook & loop closure arrangement. This is, strictly, a personal preference. I am tired of having hook & loop items go through the laundry and come out stuck on to sweaters and fleece, regardless of prewash prep. The pattern as it is looks great and the original design would cover baby's shoulders, but I just can't get past the hook & loop. I suppose you could use a button or a snap instead but then you might loose some of the "grow-with-me" potential. A good bib is something baby can use from birth to preschool. So I chose to get rid of the hook & loop by altering the original pattern to include I-cord ties instead. Below are my alterations.
I cannot, nor do I want to, reprint those parts of the pattern that I did not modify. So you have to get your own copy of the original pattern.
Hynek's Handmade Alterations for Claire Montgomerie's Special Baby Gift Bib
Work both sides as follows:
Row 5 - Seed Stitch 4, K7, Seed Stitch 4
Row 6 - Seed Stitch 4, P7, Seed Stitch 4
Row 7 - Seed Stitch 4, Sl-K-psso, K3, K2tog, Seed Stitch 4
Row 8 - Seed Stitch 4, P5, Seed Stitch 4
Row 9 - Seed Stitch 4, Sl-K-psso, K1, K2tog, Seed Stitch 4
Row 10 - Seed Stitch 4, P3, Seed Stitch 4
Row 11 - Seed Stitch 4, K3tog, Seed Stitch 4
Row 12 - Seed Stitch all
Row 13 - K, P, K2tog, P2tog, K, P, K
Row 14 - Seed Stitch all
Row 15 - K, P, K, P2tog, K2tog
Row 16 - Seed Stitch all
Row 17 - K, P2tog, K2tog
Row 18 - Seed Stitch all
Row 19 - Seed Stitch all
Place one side on a stitch holder. Switch the other side to 2 DPN needles and work a 3 stitch I-cord until it is 15 inches long and bind off. Then work the other side in a 3-stitch I-cord for 15 inches and bind off. Weave all ends.
I need to test knit it one more time to be certain of the stitch counts. However, I think you'll get the general idea once you get it on the needles. I tried to maintain the integrity of the seed stitch pattern border. It turned out pretty well I think.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
|Original pattern had velcro closure|
Now I am beginning to branch out from using other people's patterns to making my own. I started by tinkering with existing patterns to modify them to my style and preference. Now I am starting to simply make a sketch and then pull out my calculator to figure out the number of stitches I need to cast on my needles or the yardage of material I'll need. The first few times I did this I was a little nervous about wasting my time and materials budget on something that might not work out. So I started out on things that were for use in our home: curtains for my sons' rooms, EVE pillows for Christmas, and a new sweater for an old Pooh are good examples. Every time I look at these things I see what I would change or do differently the second time around - but that is just my design process.
|A new sweater for an old Pooh|
There is something incredibly liberating about crafting 'without a net' and on the fly. So what if I screw up, I'll just take it apart and start over. So what if some material gets mucked up, I just add it to the scrap bag and it will get used by another project. The hard part now is to remember to journal what I do so I can write down the pattern and instructions to improve or reproduce the product. Some of these on-the-fly patterns are very spur of the moment, like my Bottle Cozy pattern, or simple experiments in texture and materials like The Ashton Hat or Lorica's Toque. However, judging from the number of hits that those particular blog pages get and the fact that some other pattern sites are beginning to link to my blog, I think I am having some small successes.
|EEEVAH! for Xmas|
So far, with my free patterns, I have done the test knitting myself. I would love to have a friend or family member test knit them as well but I don't see that happening in a timely enough fashion to make it a viable form of proofing prior to posting. When I get to the point of selling patterns, I'll pay for a professional technical proof reader. However, while my patterns are free, I just can't swing that; but, if I get useful feed back regarding these patterns from other knitters, I will definitely incorporate it.
Product testing is tough for me when it comes to baby things because I don't have babies any more. I do gift things but I always take any feedback I get about these gifts with a grain of salt because most people are loathe to criticize, in particular, handmade gifts. However, experience as a mom and with knitting in general has given me a good feel for what works versus what doesn't. Still, feedback is nice.
|Cotton-hemp soap sack in beta testing now|
Lately, I have been experimenting with non-clothing items such as reusable produce bags and home spa products. These require more product testing. I have to make sure my produce bags can be ultra light weight and still stand up to holding a bunch of broccoli. My family and I have been and will be using these beta models for awhile before I make them publicly available. I am probably going to send my cousin and my mom a couple of things to try for a while too. Product testing is a definite kink in my product release schedule of late but, hopefully, it makes for a better product.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
|Oetzi Iceman's Shoes|
As an environmental engineer, an eco-conscience woman, and a whole and organic foods nut, I am quite interested in natural fibers. This along with my interest in history and my knitting has led me to experiment with different yarns over the last year. My stash is developing into quite an eclectic assortment.
|Red Heart Super Saver - 100% Acrylic|
Nylon is a common addition to yarn. It is strong, durable, and lightweight. It also has a nice stretchy quality. You see it in a lot of sock yarns but it's in other types of yarn as well.
Polyester is a also a common addition to yarn and is easy to care for. The new glamour yarns and fun furs are often polyester or a blend thereof.
|Caron Dazzleaire - 80% Acrylic, 20% Nylon|
|Swish Worsted - 100% Superwash Merino Wool|
Cashmere and mohair come from goats. They have very similar properties to wool but are more luxurious and soft. Definitely a high end yarn. You will see these included in yarn blends as well. Very nice stuff, though unfortunately I don't have any in my stash.
|Tahki Cotton Classic - 100% Cotton|
|The Wool Peddler 100% Hemp Yarn|
I am curious about bamboo. I've been drooling over some bamboo yarn I saw the other day but so far have resisted the urge to add it to my stash. It is lovely, soft, fuzzy stuff just begging to be a baby hat. Bamboo has antibacterial and ultra violet protective properties as well. The down side is that it all seems to be hand wash only and, I've heard, that it can be splitty making it more difficult to knit.
Soy is another new fiber I've read about. I have not had the opportunity to look at or feel yarn made from soy protein but it's an interesting idea and it does come from a renewal resource.
There are a whole host of other fibers available, both man-made and natural. I've even heard of people spinning their own yarn out of cat and dog hair. As my journey in knitting continues, I am certainly looking forward to trying as many different things as I can. Who knows perhaps I'll take up spinning and create my own fiber blends and yarn.