Each Spring and Summer, I glory in the richness and splendor of my husbands garden. It is hard to imagine that there could be so many shades of green from the deepest blue-green, to to rich pine colored solids, yellow and chartreuse , and muted shades that boast an irredescent sheen. Words can not begin to describe the splendor, nor can photos or yarn capture the shades and hues. Last week, I guided my knitting friends through the garden path as I created a striped, hooded sweater in rich lime that is meant for my granddaughter's fall wardrobe.
(http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/graden-inspriations-for-knitting-a-toddler-striped-hooded-cardigan ) Today I am inspired by a different muse. These plants are the muted houkeras.The greens are sage-like with sight brown and tawny colors as the threads vary and change. This garden is my husbands work of art. The canvas is 2+ acres of wooded land that he has converted to a Hosta paradise. In addition to the 1000+ different varieties of Hostas, he has supplemented with grasses, Japanese Maples, Heukeras, Epemedia, and a variety of Flowering Perennials. As I explained in my last post, my husband, Bert, is mostly recovered from a broken leg that he suffered in January when he was doing maintenance work on the yard with a friend As soon as he was off the crutches he began the arduous preparations for this years display with spreading yards and yards of compost and mulch, followed by spraying to keep away the deer and unwanted insects. This is my own personal park, and each time I walk along the paths, I take photos in the hope that I can replicate the interesting colors and patterns.
For spring and summer I wanted a lacy cover that would drape over a top or dress. Bert's newest garden enclave featured 3 heukera with delicately hued leaves. I chose the last plant for my inspiration because I remembered 3 skeins of Unforgettable (Red Heart) varied sage light green with subtle overtones of tan in places. Unforgettable is a classified as a #4 (Worsted weight) yarn, but it seems to be lighter in places. When I used the J (6.00 mm) hook I was sure to get that lacy effect.
I searched my pattern collection until I found the right lacy shawl. Kaleidoscope is a downloadable pattern from Red Heart (#LM5992) When finished the shawl measures 64 inches wide by 32 inches deep at the center point. As I used the J 6.00mm hook instead of the H 4.0hood noted in the pattern, and my wingspan (width) was 72 inches. The pattern began with several rows of cluster stitches. Next was a 5 row band of open mesh. This pattern repeated itself 3 more times. I only had enough yarn for 2 of the 5 final rows of mesh before adding a foundation row of single crochet before crocheting a border row. I made another change here. The pattern called for single crochet and picot stitch sequence. I found the directions confusing, and did not like the result. Painstakenly, I frogged about a foot of Unforgettable yarn. This is one drawback of this lovely fiber, The threads seem to stick together, making it very difficult to separate and undo. When I was done, I settled on the border shown in the photos below. Starting with a coupe of single crochets, I make one HDC, one DC, and one TC, all in the same stitch. I single crocheted in the next 3stitches and repeated the pattern around
Next week, Bert and I will be attending the 2018 national convention for the American Hosta Association. My lacy green shawl will be just the perfect cover for the air-conditioned halls at this meeting of Hosta Enthusiasts from all over the country.
Today, as I walked along the garden trails that my husband had laid out, I held my breath and marveled at the beauty, the lushness, the shapes, composition, and vibrant colors. I knew that at this moment, a fantastic canvas spread before me, and the garden was at its peak. It was time again to take inspiration from its majesty and creativity. Last season I dedicated two articles to this paradise and featured knitted and crocheted pieces that took their colors or shapes from the hostas, epimediums, and other companion plants.(http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/knitting-and--crocheting-a-view-from-the-garden) (http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/crocheting-and-knitting-with-green-magic) This year I focused on the the colors of the grasses, the heuchera, and the flowering bushes. The striped hooded cardigan for my granddaughter was one result. I have a crocheted shawl as well, but that will be the subject for another article
Since my granddaughter does not particularly like to wear hats in the winter, my son-in-law really appreciated a hooded cardigan I had crocheted for his daughter during this past winter. When I found the printed pamphlet from the Plymouth Yarn Company, Jean nee Worsted 1922 at my local independent yarn shop, The Yarn Barn, I knew that it was the perfect vehicle for the luscious lime and snow worsted from my yarn stash bins. This was a premier yarn (#4) from the Twist house line from Joanne stores. Since it was last year's yarn, I knew I had to knit or crochet with it because there was no more yarn in that exact color in the store. Also, I had to get started before I would not have enough yarn to finish a garment that would fit her. The pattern called for a contrasting rib of a third color, but I wanted to use a beautiful set of flowered pink buttons that would look perfect on the lime green background. My granddaughter is a petite 17 months old now in June., and the 2 year size would probably take her though most of the winter. We dressed her in the sweater for some photos for this article, and as you can see, it is plenty roomy. Instructions for a child 1 to 8 years are included in the pattern.
The cardigan is made in the traditional way with separate back, fronts, set-in sleeves. The hood stitches were picked up from the collar. I had pay attention to my rows as I switched colors every 8 rows to create the broad stripes. Everything went smoothly until I had to make the final ribbing that stretched from the bottom of the right front up to the hood, across the hood, and down the final left side. I counted the stitches I needed to pick up carefully and followed the instructions that called for an inch and a half ribbing to match the sleeves and sweater bottom. However, when all was done and blocked with ends woven in, the ribbing extended too far and was rather waffly. I had done such a careful job of sewing in the ends, and it was impossible to find them to take out the ribbing. Therefore, I had to cut out the ribbing, start all over, and pray that I still had enough yarn for the rib band. The ribbing on the fronts lay flat, but I had to cut down on the ribbing on the hood. By pinching and squeezing the hood rib, I estimated that I had to eliminate about 18 stitches. Also, I knitted only 2 rib rows (instead of 4) before making the button holes. In all I had 5 rows + the pick up line instead of the 9 in the orginal rib. Now, the ribbing lay flat and neatly circled my granddaughter's face. Frogging and making the change was worth the effort.
When you knit or crochet from a pattern, you need to keep a watchful eye. Designers have the best intentions and test their work, but sometimes the directions may not work exactly for you. Before sewing in all of you ends, make sure that you have made the correct decisions and that you can easily undo your mistakes. Also, do not be afraid to make that alternation that in your best judgement will result in a better fitting garment.
As spring turns to summer, I look forward to sitting on the deck to continue my handiwork. I have taken so many pictures. Although the natural world inspires me, it is hard to replicate the exact colors and textures. I am excited at the possibilities, the combinations, the patterns. I am never bored if I have yarn, needles, or hooks in my hands.
I love crocheting, knitting, and blogging, but for the past several weeks family life has taken a hold on my time. Joyfully, we attended my son Jeff's wedding in midMay. You all saw the tulle dress I made for his new stepdaughter. She was so happy and proud. This past weekend we were delighted to present a Connecticut reception for family and friends who could not be accommodated in the intimate NYC celebration. The shopping , organizing, cleaning, and food preparation were monumental tasks, but they were so worth the effort. Our 60 guests had a great time. KC, Jeff's bride, got to feel special all over again as she mingled and met the special people in Jeff's and our lives.
Once we had cleaned up and recuperated from our awesome celebration, I could go back to crocheting, knitting, and lilcreates.com. I began working on two projects, a knitted hooded striped cardigan for my granddaughter and and a crocheted blanket with holes for my Threads of Love Group. The sweater will be the subject of another article. The blanket allowed me to experiment with color and was fun to work on
The yarn for the blanket came from a couple of skeins that a friend of my daughter's who thought I might have a use them. The mustardy green and teal were an unlikely combination, but I thought I would give them a try. Since the yarn would not be sufficient for a baby blanket I purchased a multicolored yarn that included some teal. As with many of my other "blankets with holes" there is not a real pattern, I just changed colors as I went along.
I wanted to reach a 33" x 33" square, but as I continued to add rows, I worried that I would not have enough yarn. I started with a ten row square of the mustardy color, followed by 3 rows of teal, 3 rows of mustard, 3 rows of multicolor, 3 rows of mustard, and 3 rows of teal. At this point there was only enough yarn to crochet 1 row of mustard, 2 rows of multicolored, and 2 rows of teal. I was still short of my 33' diameter, but I thought I had enough teal to single crochet 1 row around. I was playing yarn chicken, but I finished with several yards to spare. I also had just enough to single crochet 1 row of multicolored yarn. I liked the contrast and was pleased with the project. The bold colors make for a gender neutral blanket. I will let the ladies in my group decide.
Did you ever complete a piece of handiwork that makes you shout out loud "This one is for me."
When I completed my last knitted scarf, I knew that it at the top of my fashion accessory list. My Two Direction Scarf was based on a pattern from Classic Elite Yarns, Accent 3. As I continue on my blogging journey, I am forever looking for new ideas and materials. When I leafed through the booklet, I found several designs that fit my fashion profile. There were several scarves and sweater patterns that called to me, but the Two Direction Scarf had the most appeal. The pattern calls for 4 balls (488 yards of #4 worsted) of Liberty Wool to create a scarf 8 inches wide by 72 inches long. However, at approximately $11.00 a ball, I decided to substitute yarn from my stash while I tried out the pattern. If the scarf was to my liking, I would invest in the more expensive version in other colors. For my experiment, I selected a skein of black to white Scarfie yarn by Lion Bran from my bins. I knew that my scarf would be shorter because there was less yardage (312 yards), but I felt that it was worth the gamble. This yarn is a Chunky #5 yarn. that is 80% acrylic and 20% wool. The label stated that there was enough yardage to make a complete scarf out of this soft, tonal yarn.
I have knitted and crocheted other scarves from Scarfie, and have been pleased with the results. As with many yarn collectors, I have acquired yarn that looked interesting even when I have not had a particular pattern in mind when I bought the skein on sale. Black is one of the staple colors in my wardrobe. This scarf would look great with my winter coat or as an accent to a black sweater.
To create my scarf I knitted a 4 inch panel of garter stitch with a #9 needle) that would run the length of the scarf. As I was using a different yarn than the one called for in the pattern, I had to estimate when I was halfway though the skein. I was only able to knit about 56 inches before I would start the ribbed section that would run perpendicular to the garter stitch portion. Since my scarf was shorter, I was able to fit all of the picked up stitches on my 14 inch needle. If I had made the 72 inch scarf, I would need a cable needle that I would use to knit back and forth. I liked the 4x4 rib. As i knitted the rib, I was once again playing "yarn chicken" to see how wide I could make the ribbing before I had to bind off. I probably could have made a scarf one or two inches longer since I had some yarn left when I finished my scarf. For more specific directions, you will need to buy the pattern as it is copyrighted by Classic Elite Yarns.
Now that my first piece is complete, I am tempted to have another go at the same pattern. I can buy the Liberty Wool called for in the pattern. While my scarf lies flat along my chest and torso, the longer scarf can be doubled around my neck as I fit the long ends through the loop. I am also considering making a wider garter stitch panel to partner with the ribbing. This would have a shawl effect that would be great for covering my shoulders on a cool spring evening. The pointed scarf with diagonal lines has possibilities. I guess we will have to wait and see, which piece I make.
My son, Jeff, and his beautiful bride, KC, were wed on Friday, but I still can not get the smile off my face. Family and close friends witnessed their celebration and wishes of love and happiness filled the air. In two weeks we will get to extend the celebration from our home to include even more family and friends.
Now his wonderful family will include his handsome, smart, warm, and generous boys as well as an adorable, blond sprite. At 2 1/2 she looks and talks as a preschooler and she knows and can explain what she wants. When I was scrolling through the various dresses for young girls, I was captivated by the tulle skirt dresses. I knew that I could make them, but I wanted to make sure that I used the colors that my new step-granddaughter would want. In a three-way conversation, she informed KC and me that she would like a blue dress. We took measurements for her chest and from the bodice to the skirt hem, and I was good to go.
Tulle skirt dresses are quite popular right now, and there were many patterns to choose from online. I preferred the cap-sleeve design to the strapped ballerina models. An empire style dress by Kassia fit the bill. (http://www.theviewfrommyhook.net/2014/07/free-pattern-friday-kassia-empire-waist.html) The pattern was made for sizes 2T to 4T. A blue and white tone skein of Candy from the Toybox Collection by Plymouth was just the smooth and light worsted yarn (4) was the perfect color palette and texture. However, when I matched the blue tulle with the bodice yarn, I felt that the colors became muted. Instead, I selected 3 spools (or 75 yards) of 6 inch white tulle for the skirt. The bodice was crocheted with double crocheted stiches using an H (5mm) hook. It was done in one piece with increases to form the sleeves and body. Diagrams show how to lay our the long piece so that the ends meet in the middle before crocheting the extra rows that set off the sleeves and the foundation for the row to attach the skirt. The edging was a repeat pattern of hdc, dc, tr, skip two stitches. I liked the edging so much that I even used it on the neckline.
The tulle skirt makes every girl feel special. As my model is 40 inches tall, we needed 16 inch x 2 to make 32 inch strips. Two of each strip would be cut and folded in half before making a slipknot into the back of the row just above the trim. I decided to place my bunches every other hole to make a full skirt. My spools were 20 yarns instead of 25 yarns, and unfortunately, I had to go back to the store to get more tulle as I was 4 strips short. Luckily, I was able to get the same brand to finish the dress. I hung it on a hanger, and trimmed the ends neatly.
The beautiful treasure was encased in tissue paper and placed in a large mailing box to be mailed to my little princess's new home. The evening of arrival day, I could not wait any longer, and I called my son to find out if the package had arrived and if his daughter to be approved. With a laugh, he informed me that she was already prancing around in the dress. Later that even his fiance called to share a conversation with her daughter. When she told her that Lillian had made her a "Frozen" dress. She sighed and replied. "I'm Elsa."
Still between mom and daughter, I did know if they would use it for the wedding or just for dress-up. Either way, I was happy. I had made the dress for this darling girl to enjoy. On the morning of the wedding, she brought out her dress and informed her parents that she was wearing it to the wedding. Always the individual, she also selected her rubber-like shoes for the day. Later at the wedding dinner, she told my son that this was her "wedding dress." When he asked her if she knew who made it, she answered happily, "yes, your mommy, Lillian." She felt special all day. Many of the guests admired her garment and did not realize that it had been made for her.
The crocheted bodice and tulle skirt took only 4 hours to complete even with the crocheted flower blossom. Now I was on a roll, and decided to try a smaller version for my granddaughter who usually wears 18 month sizes. This time the bodice was a Babycakes by Caron Yarns, and the tulle skirt was pink. Now I needed 24.5 inch lengths for the 12 inch skirt plus knot.The Empire Waist Crochet Tutu Dress by Daisy Girl Crochet could fit babies from 12 months to 24 months by changing the needle size. I made the larger size as I wanted her to be able to wear the dress more than one time. When complete, the dress appeared slightly too big for my petite girl. I still love the dress, but it will wait until she grows. I bought the yarn and tulle to remake it in a smaller size. This dress will be aqua and while. If I finish this dress before the reception in our Connecticut home, she can wear it for that party.
For crocheters who want to make a tulle skirt dress for an older girl, Busting Stitches shares a free pattern "Feeling Free Dress" in sizes 184.108.40.206.
These dresses can be individuallized in many ways. I chose to use a multicolor yarn for the top and a solid bodice. They would also look lovely with a solid bodice and two or three colors of tulle in the skirt. You can accent the dress with a wide ribbon bow or sash or use lengths of tulle to make the bow. The flower crocheted for the dress would also make an attractive headband. These dresses make affordable dresses little girls in a wedding party. It is easy to pick up the colors of the wedding party. Using material like the ones I used for my dresses, the garments cost about $16.00 to make. After the special party they can always be used for dress-up days.
With these easy-to-make tulle skirt dresses, every girl can be a princess.
With Mother's Day just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to gift the women in my life with with cheerful spa tokens to recognize them on this special day. I am lucky to have a daughter, several special friends, 2 sisters-in-law, and a daughter in law to be in my life. Since this year's collection has taken me considerably more time than I anticipated, my mailing date will be probably be tomorrow, and they will arrive sometime next week. However, I am still smiling because each of these wonderful women will get a surprise special treat. Last year I prepared an assortment of spa gifts with cotton and scrubby yarn from Red Heart. I provided links and directions for facial scrub pads, fabulous flip flops, a head band to keep the hair out one's face, more abrasive scrubbers for callouses on the feet, and a small bag for soap. One set was crocheted in aqua and white. Another was prepared in peach and white. For pictures and ideas please refer back to "Mother's Day Crochet" from April, 2017 in the archives. Directions for scrubby pads "Scrubby Art," can also be found in the April, 2017 archives.
This year I am focusing on crocheted scrubby flower as well as spa gifts in purple and white. Past collections have used cotton yarn and Red Heart Scrubby Yarn individually or together. These yarns are ideal for spa gifts, but crocheting can be hard on the fingers. My cotton yarns of choice tend to be Sugar n' Cream by Lily or Premier Home by Premier Yarns.For me,my new addition is the Red Heart Scrubby Sparkle Yarn. This yarn has a unique texture and yields a sparkle effect. It is 100% polyester and comes in 3 oz. 174 yard skeins that are idea for scrubbies and other craft items. Items made with the yarn may be machine washed on delicate, Do not bleach or iron. The yarn feels like eyelashes held together on a cord. Red Heart calls for a #8 knitting needle or an 5.5 or I hook. Most of my pieces were done with a 4.5 (large G) or 5.0 (H) hook.
The Scrubby Sparkle Yarn is gentler to the touch than the original Scrubby Yarn and it is ideal for making flower scrubbies. I follow the general pattern that I use for making my 2 and 3 layer blooms.
Row 1: Make a magic circle and crochet 6 stitches into the center. Pull the yarn to close and join.
Row 2: Make 2 single crochet (SC) into each stitch (12)
Row 3: Chain 3 and skip one stitch. Single crochet into next stitch. Continue around until you have 6 loops that will form the base for your first layer of petals. Chain 1
Row4: to form petal crochet the following stitches in the first loop. SC, CH, 3 DC,CH, SC,CH. Move to next petal and continue as in first petal. When all 6 petals are complete join with slip stitch to bottom of first petal. If you are continuing with the same color pull yarn to the back of the flower SC around the post formed by the first petal. If you are changing colors secure thread, cut and weave in end.
Row 1: With same color chain 4 from the yarn you pulled through from first layer. If you are using a new color, SC around one of the flower posts and chain 4. For either method. Single crochet around next flower post. Continue around as you did in layer one.Join to last loop, SC in that loop, and turn work
Row 2: For first petal, make the following stitches in the first loop: SC, CH, HDC, 4 DC, CH, SC, CH to go into next loop.When all 6 petals are complete join with slip stitch to bottom of first petal. If you are continuing with the same color pull yarn to the back of the flower SC around the post formed by the first petal. If you are changing colors secure thread for row 2 , cut and weave in end.
Row 1: With same color chain 5 from the yarn you pulled through from first layer. If you are using a new color, SC around one of the flower posts and chain 5. For either method. Single crochet around next flower post. Continue around as you did in layer two. Join to last loop, SC in that loop, and turn work.
Row 2: For first petal, make the following stitches in the first loop: SC, CH, HDC, 5 DC, CH, SC, CH to go into next loop.When all 6 petals are complete join with slip stitch to bottom of first petal. Cut and weave in ends.
For this collection I made an open mesh bag for holding soap.
I also made a cup cozy for holding a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea.
The last items for this purple collection were decorated flip flops. I followed the Posy Ruffle Flip Flop Pattern by Lion Brand for covering the straps. I made another set of Scrubby Sparkle flowers to accent the spot just below the toes.
Happy Mother's Day to all of my readers. I hope that these pieces help you to make every day a spa day. What items would you add to a crocheted spa collection? I am open to new ideas.
Crocheted baby blankets have always been among my favorite projects for gifts or custom orders. Now with the warmer weather ahead, I was looking for a lighter version for my "blankets with holes" to provide a cuddler to keep the chill off while not overheating the baby or toddler. The inspiration for this article came from "V-stitched Crochet Baby Blanket by Maria through her website "Dinki Dots." By crocheting with a V-stitch instead of the 3 stitch cluster, I was able to achieve an open weave without the added thickness found in most Granny Stitch patterns. I had thought that I was finished with the baby shower gifts for children of dear friends when my BFF, Phyllis, from Florida called to tell me that her daughter, Melissa was expecting a little one in the fall. I had watched Melissa grow up from infancy, and so any of her children would also be dear to my heart. Even though she is a grown woman she still calls me "Aunt Lillian," a relic from our early years in Miami. She will not be able to use the blanket for her new baby until the winter, and even then she will need a lighter weight cover. Since I do not know the baby's gender, I guess I will make two blankets, and give her the right one when the little one arrives. I already selected pink, white, and a multi-shade for the female version.
The original V-stitch inspiration was done in rainbow colors, but I wanted to use up some worsted from my stash and decided to stitch with white, baby blue, and camel. Lately, I have been crocheting many of my bigger projects with a worsted weight (#4) yarn called "Studio Classic by Nicole." This is an affordable house brand from the mega-craft store AC Moore. The yarn is at the thicker end of the worsted range, It is soft to touch and works up beautifully. The yarn is machine washable and dryable under low heat. I generally just dry until some of the moisture is removed and block flat on a towel. Since there are 372 yards in each skein, I only needed 1 of each color to complete my blanket with an accent trim.
While still following the basic style of the pattern, I made several changes to make a larger blanket. Instead of a 133 foundation chain, I widened the chain to 122 as the V-stitch repeat is 3 plus 3. The original started with 2 rows of white alternated with 4 rows of different rainbow colors. I started with 6 rows of color and alternated with 4 rows of white. Since I wanted to start and end with the same blue, I ended up crocheting 70 rows before applying the trim (instead of 58) My model was 26.9 inches wide by 37 inches long. My finished piece was 36 inches wide by 40 inches long. The larger blanket would still work well for a toddler. The number of rows in each segment does not matter. Just choose a pattern that pleases you. Next time I will probaby choose a combinati9on that works out with a smaller number of rows to yield a square.The blanket was crocheted with a 6.00mm J hook.
With the exception of the trim the entire blanket is done in V stitch. (DC-CH-DC in the same stitch.
After several tries I was still unable to execute the chainless foundation. Therefore, I just chained my 122 stitches and added 1 for the turn and crocheted back along the chain. I am determined to master that technique, but I will have to devote a lot of time and many reruns of You-Tube shorts dedicated to the demonstration. At the end of the row, I chained 3 and turned my work.and made my first V-stitch into top of the first stitch in row. After each V-stitch I skipped 2 stitches until I reached the last stitch. Next, I double crocheted (DC) and turned my work. In each following row, I made my v-stitches in the ch space left in the previous row. At the end of the row, DC in the top of the CH3. Then CH 3 and turn.
Please note to change color, work into the two open loops before making the chain 3.
When I finished the sequence, I single crocheted in white around the circumference of the blanket. I made sure to make 3 single crochet stitches into each corner so that the blanket would lie flat.
The next step was to follow the V-stitch pattern as I had done for the main portion. I was able to work in 3 DC in the first row and2 sets of 2 DC in the second row of trim. The last step was to change to blue changing back to single crochet. The final row was done with Crab Stitch. This stitch is also called a reverse Single Crochet. This stitch provides a thicker more interesting edge to the blanket. You can find a simple photo-tutorial, "How to Crow A Reverse Single Crochet Stitch" through dummies that is related to Crocheting for Dummies. or through "Reverse Single Crochet Stitch (Crab Stitch) from AllFreeCrochet.com.
I am proud of my new blanket and look forward to presenting it to a new mama. As with all of my pieces, I give it a critical eye so that I can continue to improve in future blankets. The V-stitch was easy to execute and worked well into a lighterweight baby blanket. Next time, I will change the color count so that I can end up with a blanket about 10% shorter. I also might consider adding a fourth color or work the stripes from light to dark for an ombre effect in the same color family. I need to be careful when crocheting along the long sides so that my edges lay flat without extra stitches. Now that this blanket is finished I am eager to start the female version. Whenever the parents reveal, I will be ready to send off the blanket. The baby's older brother received an earlier version of my "blanket with holes," and it well worn with love crocheted into every stitch.
The knitted chevron edged cardigan for infants and toddlers represented a challenge that would expand my kniting skills and play with my creative side. Although I have a considerable stash of yarn and a print as well as an online library of knitted and crocheted patterns, I still the felt the need of new inspiration. At these moments, I venture to my favorite independent knitting shop, The Yarn Barn, in Woodbridge, Connecticut. The proprietor lets me wander at will, but is always available to offer a new pattern or yarn to fill my knitting needs. My chevron pattern came from a booklet published by Classic Elite Yarns. Although the pattern called for four 50 gram skeins of Liberty Wool, the cost was prohibitive for a sweater that a toddler would wear for only a few months. Since I wanted the banded streaked effect, Arabella turned me to a selection of Toybox Candy by Plymouth Yarn. Two 100 gram skeins would easily do the job. I was pleased to select a colorway with ivory, dusty rose, and brownish grey that would look wonderful with my granddaughter's complexion and the clothes in her wardrobe. The featured buttons were outsize, and I was lucky to find the 1 inch dusty pink and polka dotted buttons at a local mega-craft store. They would harmonize with the sweater and provide an interesting pattern.
The chevron edging and color had drawn me to the sweater in the first place. With each of my projects I like to teach myself something new: a stitch, a technique, a pattern, a new type of yarn. While the ripple stitch is a crocheting mainstay, I had not yet attempted this technique in knitting.
The directions seemed simple, but I went along, I never seemed to end at the right place with the correct number of stitches left over. After several attempts at the bottom I was relieved to knit in stockinette for several inches.
The main body of the sweater is knitted in one piece. At the arm hole, the sweater is divided to construct the back and two front sides. The sleeves are knitted separately, stitched or crocheted up the side and inserted into the body of the sweater.
Since my buttons at 1 inch were a bit larger than the ones called for. I added two rows to the garter stitch button band. At this point I began the chevron collar and experienced the same difficulty I had with the bottom of the sweater. I knitted and frogged and knitted again. I was sorely tempted to abandon the piece and begin a project that was less frustrating. However, I knew that if I put the piece down to languish in a box of works to be continued, my granddaughter would have outgrown the cardigan before she even got a chance to wear it. At last I finished the chevron effect and knitted the rest of the collar in stockinette.
The pattern called for a three needle bind off for neatly attaching the collar. I dutifully googled the term and found a simple tutorial for the technique. I even mastered the process. However, the collar would not lay straight. I had to frog again, bind off the color edge and attach it to the body of the sweater with a neat crocheted stitch. I was quite proud of myself. I had mastered several new stitches and the chevron edge. Although the 3 needle bind off did not work for this project, I had another skill which would work for a straighter edge. My piece was ready for blocking before I took it over to my daughter's home the next morning. My son-in-law, Gabe, accommodated me, and we managed to get a squirming toddler into her new cardigan to pose for a few pictures.
Now that I had mastered the chevron edge, I would like to use the technique in future cardigans. This particular pattern tops out at 24 months, but I could substitute for a traditional ribbing on another pattern. However, I think I would prefer a simple band collar instead of the rippled effect. The sweater is comfortable and provides ample room at the chest and armhole. Although I took 1/2 off my armhole measurement, the arms were still too long for my petite granddaughter. The garter stitch band at the wrist makes it easy to fold up that part of the sleeve.
I can pat myself on the back for completing a challenging piece. Now I am ready to take on a new projects, a knitted scarf with a stockinette band that runs parallel to several inches of ribbon. It would be wonderful if I had the yarn in my stash. There are some special skeins just waiting for a creative treatment.
When I was in the middle of my engagement with stuffed animals, dolls and other amigurumi, my daughter requested that I crochet some bibs like the one I made several months ago for an article on crochet trims. It appears that most of the bibs that are available are shorter and reach only halfway down her toddler daughter's chest. As our little one has become an adventurous and therefore a messier eater, the infant bibs are not doing the job. Also, the material is not nearly as absorbent as she would like it to be. Lucky for me, I had a considerable supply of #4 weight cotton yarn that I had bought on sale. This would be a wonderful way to decrease my stash that seems to have a life of its own. My new challenge would be to produce larger bibs that would protect her clothing from water, spills and dribbles. They had to pass the comfort test or she would pull at the bibs and refuse to wear them. To satisfy me, they had to be cheerful, colorful, and creative. Hopefully, they would wash and dry well so that they could be used more than one time.
After a week of intense crocheting activity, I arrived at my daughter's home with about 8 new bibs in hand. Before my granddaughter would become fussy, I managed to button up several and and pose her for my IPad camera. She did not complain, and so the comfort test was passed. As she was wearing a peach colored shirt and beige pants, we kept her in the white owl bib with peach and grey features and matching flower. My grandddaughter has been playing games with her water from her sippy cup lately. By mid-day, her shirt usually needs to be changed. Her new owl bib absorbed the water and kept her dry. We took the bib off before nap time and let it dry out on the table.
These crocheted bibs are 8 to 9 inches wide and extend to 9 inches below the chin. A Picot or Scalloped trim would add to these dimensions. I used two different closures for the bib. In the first I crocheted a six inch arm to each side of the bib. On the left I crocheted a button hole, and on the right, I sewed a 3/4 inch button. This step would put the closing in back of her head at the neck. For the second, I extended the left hand arm to about 8-9 inches and crocheted a tab of about1-2 inches on the right. I crocheted a button hole at the end of the arm and sewed the button to the tab. In this style the button closure was at the front. If I were to leave out the tab on the right side, I would make the arm 9 plus inches so that it would button easily. For a bigger child, I might add an inch to the arms for both bibs. I did not make a version with tie strings as I felt it would take longer to make the bow. In mean time, the toddler could become fussy and squirmy.
I experimented with my stitches and rows as I went along, but I finally decided to start with a chain of 20 stitches, using a 4.5mm G hook. (G comes in 4.0 and 4.5 sizes). In the first row I crocheted 2 Single Crochet (SC) stitches into the second stitch from the hook and crocheted across until the last stitch. I crocheted 2 SC stitches in the last stitch and chained 1 before turning my work. In row 2, I made 2 SC stitches in the first stitch, crocheted across and made 2 SC stitches in the last stitch and chained 1 just as I had done for the first row. I continued in the same manner for a total of 5 rows until my piece was 29 stitches wide. At this point I did not made any more increases. However I did make a chain one at the end of each row until the piece was about 9 inches long. Then I had to decide whether to make the bib with a back or a side closure.
Back closure: Crochet a strip 8 SC stitches wide for 6 inches. To make the button hole, crochet 2 SC, chain 3, skip 4 stitches, and SC the last 2 stitches, chain 1. I realize that this makes only 6 stitches, but it works out. In the next row, Sc in first 2 stitches, SC 3stitchers in button hole space, SC in last 2 stitches, chain 1. In last row,make a SC decrease in first 3 stitches, s SC, and make a SC decrease in the last 3 stitches and fasten off. On the right hand side, crochet a strip of 8 SC stifches for 6 inches to match the right side. Add the next two rows without the button hole. End with the decrease row as you did on the left. Sew a 3/4 inch button at the end.
Side Closure: Crochet a strip 8 SC stitches wide for 9 inches. for the last row make a SC decrease, Sc to the last 2 stitches and make a final SC decrease before fastening off. On the right side make atab1-2 inches tall before finishing row and fasten off. Sew a button at the end of the tab.
Trim: For all bibs, single crochet (SC) around the entire bib. Make sure to SC 3 stitches in each corner stitch so that the bib lies flat.
Picot: Start at the top at the right side and make 2 SC.In the next stitch SC and chain 4. SC in base of the same stitch. Continue around the outside of the bib in the same manner. I chose not to put the trim in the area that would lie on the neck as it may be irritating for the child. Continue around with the Picot, ending with 2 SC.
Scallop: I crocheted a 5 stitch scallop and made the trim around the outside of the bib. While the trim was attractive, I would consider experimenting with a 3 stitch scallop so that the trim would be a less obvious feature.
My son-in-law-will be bringing his daughter for dinner while my daughter attends evening classes. We will have another opportunity to observe and to see which bib designs work best. He selected the ladybug, frog, owl, and Hello Kitty bibs to keep at home. These bibs are truly made with love.
A prodigal knitter returns to her craft. As a fiber artist, I enjoy both knitting and crocheting. However, I must confess that after several years as a knitter, I became absorbed with various projects and stitches as a crocheter for several months. I had forgotten the rhythmic sensation of knitting and the relaxing ability of knitting for almost a whole line without even looking down at my work. I missed the smooth texture of my pieces and that wonderful hand feel of working with soft luxurious yarn. True these same sensations can be experienced in crochet, but they are not just the same. During my granddaughter's first year of life, I knitted sweaters for each stage of her development. I even celebrated her first birthday with an article that chronicled all of these pieces as my little one grew from an infant to an emergent toddler. http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/a-little-girl-grows-up-a-year-in-sweaters.
What made me return to my knitting after crocheted sweaters,gloves, hats, and amigurumi? I was rummaging in my stash when I came across a box of gradient yarns manufactured by Premier Yarns. The Sunset ombre selection included 5 small skeins that ranged in color from a light pink to the darkest brick. Among the many projects suggested was a sweater ideal for a baby girl. Premier yarns even offered an easy-to-follow pattern created specifically for this collection of yarns. AlI needed to buy was a a large double pointed cable needle in #8. I located my set of double pointed needles and place markers from my box of knitting and crocheting tools, and I was all set to go. To find the free pattern online, search for Premier Yarns Ombre Cardigan. It was created by the Premier Yarn Design Team. Skill level is intermediate. The Premier Yarns website is www.premieryarns.com.
The pattern was a top down design, and so there would be no seaming in the construction. Premier Yarns did all of the gradient color selection for the collection. When I opened the box to begin knitting, I noticed how smooth and soft the anti-pilling !00% acrylic yarn was.I was eager to create this sweater for my granddaughter. Even though she is a petite 15 month old, I selected the 24 month size since I wanted her to be able to wear the sweater for several months. As it turned out This was a good decision as this lighter weight sweater fit perfectly for spring, and there is a little room for growth during the summer and early fall.
As I cast on and read the directions for the increases and place markers, I was filled with trepidation. would I be able to get the formula correct and add the correct number of stitches in the correct places. Some of my previous attempts with this method had not been successful. However, as I progress with the raglan sleeve and the additions for the yoke, I was pleased to note that I had the correct number of stitches. by the time I had to place the sleeves on stitch holders to knit the front and back panels, I as right on target.
My box contained a total of 360 yards with 72 yards in each of the 5 colors. As I proceeded though the secitons and color changes, I began to worry that I might not have enough yarn to finish the size 24 month sweater which was the larges size for the pattern. I was playing a continuous game of yarn chicken as I finished knitting the sweater body and each sleeve. By the time I got to the front and collar edging, I was certain I had a problem with the darkest shade. there was only enough yarn to knit 3 of the 5 rows and bind off. I still had a remnant of the lighter brick. Therefore, I held my breath and knitted only 4 rows, proceeded to bind off and ended with 12 inches to spare. The change in the number of rows and the slight color variation did not appear to affect the design adversely. I would have preferred to knit the edging entirely in dark brick, but my subtle coping strategy [aid off, and the change was hardly noticeable. I will write to Premier Yarns about my experiences to help other knitters/ These yarns are soft and lovely. Stitches line up beautifully. Premier Yarns would do well to manufacture these yarns for purchase as regular skeins for each of the colors in their selection boxes.
This color banded sweater was interesting to knit, and I think the finished garment is attractive. The color sequence is perfect for my granddaughter who walks proudly in her newest sweater. I like the pattern design, and would definitely consider recreating it with my own color choices. To avoid the problem of running out of yarn, I would need new skeins or remnants larger than the 72 yards for each color. The Premier yarns box cost $9.99 in the store and $14.00 online. I used up almost all of the yarn, and there was no waste. If I were to knit the sweater from new selection of yarns, it would probably cost me about $20-$25.00, but I would have a large remnant in each color. I could also use complementary colors for my stash even though they might not be in a gradient layout. If I recreated the sweater, I would make an important change in the button placement. The neckline is narrow, and I placed the buttonholes as directed from the neck border down. I think that the garment would be more comfortable, if I started placing the buttons an inch down from the neckline. With the current placement, I suggested to my daughter and son-in-law that they leave the top button and maybe even the top two buttons open. The sweater is a bit longer than most, and there are 7 buttons that reach halfway down the front. Leaving the top buttons open or making a change in button placement would not affect the look of the sweater.
As I play with sweaters for my granddaughter's second year, I will probably include some crocheted items. However, I will always return to my first true love-knitting.