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“Lilla Koftan” Little Cardigan

April 7, 2017

Lilla Koftan sleeve and front

I love going into yarn shops wherever I travel, don’t you?  Ever since I walked into my first yarn shop in Chapel Hill, North Carolina when my oldest son was a baby in 1988, I was hooked.  I love the women in yarn shops – so eager to help you and so excited about the yarn they sell. A good yarn shop has a big table where knitters come and work on their projects, either for the help or just for the friendship. Recently while visiting our son in college, I walked into a yarn shop in Evanston, Illinois – CloseKnit – and this shop was one of those great little yarn shops.  The women were having a great time and laughing and there was a big table right in the middle of the shop.   I saw this yarn on display with a little sample swatch knitted up and was so intrigued with it that I bought a couple of skeins.  It’s a German yarn called Schachenmayr Extra Fine Merino 120 and, when knitted up, kind of looks like Fair Isle.  I love it.  But what’s really great about it is the texture – it’s extra fine merino, but has a really nice firmness to it that I like.  It held up so well after blocking – sometimes wool can relax too much after blocking and I hate that.  This yarn retained its structure.

Lilla Koftan top

Lilla Koftan upside down

This free (!) pattern is called “Lilla Koftan” which means “Little Cardigan” in Swedish.  It is a pattern by Petra Orrbeck and I really liked it.  It’s my favorite technique for a sweater: top down, seamless, sleeves put on holders and then knitted in the round. And it has a little garter yoke and garter trim.  Perfect!

Lilla Koftan start of sleeve

I knit the whole thing on #4 circular Addi Lace needles and then did the sleeves using Magic Loop, instead of DPNs.  If you need a tutorial on Magic Loop, here is mine (along with a video to help you).  Magic Loop is my favorite way to knit in the round.

Lilla Koftan sleeve on needles

 

Using #4 needles and DK yarn, this made a tiny sweater – probably a 6 month size.  So cute.

I modified the pattern just a tad:
1.  I only did 3 buttonholes (because I like that look)
2.  I did M1 increases instead of the yarn overs she suggested.
3.  I did 22 rows for the body instead of 17 as the pattern says.
4.  I did 11 rows of garter stitch for the trim instead of 9.
5.  I did 22 rows stockinette for sleeves before garter trim

Lilla Koftan cardigan side view

Lilla Koftan stitches detail

This pattern, making it the size I did, took exactly 2 skeins of this yarn – I only had about 7 yards left!  It was a close call.  So that’s about 260 yards.  This yarn is a DK weight although the company web site lists it as a Lace weight.  That just is a mistake.

Lilla Koftan buttons

 

This is all the yarn I had left!    If I want to make a little hat, I’ll have to get another skein.

 

Lilla Koftan leftover yarn

 

Thanks for stopping by and
I hope you’re making something!
Elaine

Pattern:  Lilla Koftan
Needles:  U.S. #4 circular
Yarn:  Schachenmayr Merino Extra Fine Color 120 in Helsinki (494)
Ravelry Page

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Baby Girl Raglan Sweater

March 1, 2017

 

baby-girl-raglan-sweater

Another baby knit finish.  This time it was a pattern from OGE Knitwear Designs.  I loved the textured border on this pattern.  And I really love one button cardigans.  There’s something sweet about them.  I had fun choosing the button – it’s a sparkly pink bit of bling that finished the sweater just right.

baby-girl-raglan-sweater-button

Most of the sweater is done in a twisted stockinette stitch that I loved.  It’s just a nice touch and a little more special than regular stockinette.

This sweater is knitted flat, so there is seaming, not my favorite thing.  I blocked each panel and sleeve first before sewing the pieces together – it’s much easier and neater to seam blocked pieces together, since it gets rid of a lot of the curl of unblocked pieces.

baby-girl-raglan-sweater-deatil

 

I used a super soft Superwash extra fine Merino wool from Cascade Yarns in a sport weight.  It’s nice to use superwash yarns for baby items, so they can be thrown in the washer.

This was a nice little pattern.  Check out OGE Knitwear Designs – the designer has so many cute baby patterns.

Pattern:  Baby Girl Raglan Sweater (6-12 mo size) by OGE Knitwear Designs
Yarn:  Cascade Yarn Longwood Sport in Silver and Candy Pink
Needles:  US#3 and #5
Ravelry Page

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Garter Stitch Baby Sweater

January 29, 2017

garter-stitch-sweater-open

This darling little sweater is another top down, no seam sweater – my favorite method of garment making.  Plus I love the look of garter stitch, so this sweater had to be made. The little yoke, with its raglan yarn overs, was a sweet touch.  I loved everything about this pattern.

garter-stitch-sweater-button

I used Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash Merino, a super soft worsted weight wool that is machine washable.  I like using this for baby items.  It’s so nice to knit with – and even softer than regular wool.

garter-stitch-sweater-side

I love the look of little beige sweaters for babies, but I wanted to introduce a little color on this one, so I picked out an aqua color and did some two color knitting. This was done in garter stitch, so you may not be able to tell that it is simply a “knit one in beige, knit one in aqua” repeat.  On the next row, you just knit the opposite colors over each stitch.  It creates a stranded look with the colored yarn only if you hold the colored yarn in your right hand. If you want to see how I knit with two colors at once, you can see a video of this here.

garter-stitch-two-colors

garter-stitch-sweater-detail

This pattern calls for slipping the first stitch on every row on the front. This makes a really nice, flat decorative edge.  However, if you miss just one stitch, like I did, it looks bad:

missed-stitch-ii

What to do?  The mistake was glaringly right in the front. I came up with a solution – I crocheted a decorative edge over the top, using just a simple single crochet.  It worked beautifully and I really liked the finished look of it:

crochet-edge-garter-sweater

I was able to find the perfect button for this sweater – a little aqua wooden button that was the sweetest finishing touch.

Thanks for dropping by,
Elaine

garter-stitch-sweater-front

Pattern:  Garter Stitch Baby Jacket by Nancy Elizabeth Munroe
Yarn:  Cascade 220 Merino Superwash in Tuffet & Aqua
Needles:  #6 and #7
Ravelry Page

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Toddler Cable Sweater

January 4, 2017

bergere-swater-detail

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and New Year.  I’m still picking up and cleaning after all the out of town guests we had at the house and recovering from too much food and fun.  But I’ve been knitting right along and having a great time with baby patterns.

This is a cute little sweater knit from a Bergere de France pattern book that caught my eye.  The pattern is written in English but there were all kinds of amusing  and maddening techniques that we American knitters don’t really do.  I love the end result, though, and will be knitting this again with some modifications.

bergere-sweater

First of all, this sweater is knitted flat and requires seaming, which I don’t really like to do.  But I liked the sweater so much I did it anyway.  One of the odd things about the pattern is that they have you knit the neckband separately, leave the stitches on a separate needle and then graft it on.  That seemed ridiculous, so I just picked up the stitches around the neck and knitted the neckband.

The other odd thing was the creation of the buttonholes.  I’ve never encountered this – they had you knit the sweater with no yo’s for buttonholes.  After the sweater is done, you create buttonholes by lifting a stitch above and below where you want the hole to be and sewing those stitches aside.  What?  But I gave it a go and hated it. Never doing that again.  The buttonholes it created weren’t very good and it was an enormous hassle, with having to weave in yarn ends all around the buttonholes.  Yikes.  I guess this is a typical French technique, but I’m sure glad we don’t do that here.

bergere-knitting-basket

 

Another odd thing – the pattern has four sizes – newborn, 1 month, 3 months and 6 months.  Isn’t that weird?  Usually patterns are, for instance, 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 9-12 months, etc.  Something like that.  So I wanted to knit a 12 month size, but there was no 12 months size.  My solution was to pick a heavier weight yarn (Cascade 220 Superwash Aran) and knit on bigger needles (#9).  I figured I would end up with about a 12 months size.  Nope.  I ended up with about a 2 or 3 year size!  Especially after I blocked the sweater, and the yarn relaxed like crazy.  It became huge.  So it’s really not a baby sweater anymore.  So I will be knitting this again, using DK and smaller needles.

bergere-sweataer-cuff

bergere-yarn

I loved the sweater, though.  The cables were just a sweet touch and I’m a sucker for garter stitch hem and cuffs. Looking forward to knitting it again.

Thanks for dropping by,
Elaine

bergere-hem-detail

Pattern:  Bergere de France #06 Boy’s cardigan in Book #182
Needles: US #8 & #9
Yarn:  Cascade 220 Superwash Aran
Ravelry Page

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Stretchy Knitted Icelandic Bind Off

December 19, 2016

Icelandic Bind Off.jpg

 

For most projects, doing a basic bind off is fine, but some projects require a special bind off.  I will never forget a scarf I made many years ago where I did a basic bind off.  To my horror, after the thing was off my needles, I realized that the bind off side had curved.  It also had no give whatsoever and the bind off really ruined the finished piece.  Ever since then, I’ve learned to do stretchy bind offs when needed.

My favorite stretchy bind off is this simple one that uses a tapestry needle from Elizabeth Zimmerman.  But this bind off would not work with my Capella Shawl project, because the bind off edge was just too lengthy and it would not have been practical to use a tapestry needle and such an enormous length of yarn.  So it was the Icelandic Bind Off to the rescue.  This is a stretchy bind off that is perfect for a garter stitch edge and it is done right on the needles.  It’s simple once you do a few of the stitches.  I have step by step photos, followed by a video if that helps you more.

(Scroll to the bottom of this post for the video).

icelandic-bindoff-1icelandic-bindoff-2icelandic-bindoff-3icelandic-bindoff-4icelandic-bindoff-5icelandic-bindoff-6

 

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Baby Boy Textured Stitch Pullover Sweater & Pom Pom Hat

December 9, 2016

dino-sweater-hat

I just finished this little pullover sweater and hat for a little boy.  Once again, this is a seamless construction with lots of knitting in the round.  I may never make another garment with seams again!  I really like knitting from the top down and having no seams to sew up.

dino-sweater-on-needles

The sweater is a pattern from Frogginette and is very detailed and well written.  I knit the 12 month size and came out with a 20″ chest, which was exactly what the pattern said so my gauge must have been right on (did I do a gauge swatch – no, I’m so bad about that!).  I knit this in Cascade yarns Superwash, so the baby’s mother can put the sweater in the washing machine.  The yarn relaxed like crazy after I blocked it and I was concerned it relaxed too much but the gauge ended up correct, so I was okay.  The color I used is 862 Walnut Heather.

dino-sweater-front-detail

dino-sweater-front

I used Addi Lace Circular needles, using Magic Loop.  The Addi Lace were really nice on this project because the textured stitch pattern required a “knit 2 tog without dropping stitches off your needle then knit the first stitch again and then drop the stitches off” and it was easier to do with the very pointy lace needles.

dino-sweater-needle-detail

dino-sweater-collar

The hat pattern was just something I improvised and incorporated the textured stitch pattern from the sweater.  It’s super easy – just knit a few rows of stockinette stitch so the edge curls and then knit a little square and cast off, doing a three-needle bindoff.  Super simple. I added two pom poms, which I thought was cute.

dino-sweater-sewing-pom-poms

dino-hat

dino-hat-pom-pom

Hope you’re knitting something!  

Elaine

If you’re on Instagram, you can follow me here.

Sweater Pattern:  Boy Sweater from Frogginette
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash in Walnut Heather
Needles:  #6 and 8 Circulars Addi Lace
Ravelry Page

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Capella Shawl

November 30, 2016

capella-shawl-hanging-back

(For all of you who are on Instagram, I just wanted to let you know that I started an Instagram feed of my knitting projects.  If that’s something that  you would like to follow, you can find the link here.)

I just finished a big knitting project.  If you like lace knitting, this Capella Shawl from German knitwear designer Isabell Kraemer is a real winner.  I thoroughly enjoyed knitting this.  It’s a beautiful lace pattern but the garter stitch banding is the finishing touch that I really think makes it different.

capella-shawl-front

I used Quince Chickadee yarn for this shawl, although the pattern calls for fingering weight.  This pattern is from Quince and if you have never checked out their website, hop on over there!  They have wonderful patterns and super soft, squishy yarn that’s sourced and made right here in the U.S.  I love the fact that they are producing these yarns in Maine.  You can read about their story here.

capella-shawl-quince-yarn

capella-shawl-hanging-wrapped

 

I am a big believer in Addi Lace Circular needles.  I use them for all my knitting, flat or circular, lace or not and have replaced all my old needles with these.  If you enjoy lace knitting and have never used these, you will be amazed!  The tips are so pointed and sharp, you can easily knit intricate stitches, pick up stitches and especially knit twist stitches.  This pattern has a S2KP: “slip 2 stitches tog knitwise to the RH needle, K1, pass 2 slipped stitches over knit stitch” and that is so much easier when using  lace needles.

capella-shawl-with-needles

I did an Icelandic bind off because of the garter stitch edge. I thought a regular bindoff would not be stretchy enough, but Jenny’s Super Stretchy Bindoff would be impossible to do for this length of garment.  The Icelandic bind off worked great and I will be posting a video on how to do this bindoff soon.

capella-shawl-closeup

I followed the chart on this pattern and except for one lone row of Purl only, you really have to pay attention to your knitting.  That’s the reason this project took me so long – it was hard to watch TV and knit this at the same time!   Was such an enjoyable knit, though. I hope you get out your needles and try it.  And check out Isabell’s patterns – she is a fantastic knitwear designer.

capella-folded

Pattern:  Capella Shawl
Yarn:  Quince Chickadee in Kittywake
Needles:  Addi Lace Turbo #6     40″ circulars
Ravelry Page

 

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