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In Progress: CUTTING the Sweater!!

Finally, back to my goddaughter’s sweater. Since we missed them at Christmas, I have another chance to finish this up as a gift. We have plans to see her and her parents on Saturday, so I am trying, again, to complete this sweater. Nothing like making another deadline for yourself!

Even though all the knitting is done, there is still quite a bit of work to do to finish it up. Today, I cut it open to make a cardigan. As promised, the process is shown here in pictures.

First, the before picture. The underarms have been woven closed and the ends are worked in. It is a perfectly good, though plain, sweater. Well, except that the neck is way too small to go over a child’s head as a pullover. Kids and babies have heads that are much larger in proportion to their bodies than adults. Note that the back neck is higher than the front neck. This helps keep the back hem from creeping up and makes for a much more comfortable garment.

First, using the decreases at the neck edge as a starting point, find the center stitch and mark it with contrasting yarn basted down the length of the stitch. This is the cutting line, so be accurate!

Next, using a sewing machine set to a wide width and medium length zig zag stitch, sew the stitches on either side of the center stitch. I used red thread because it was what was in my machine and it would show up in the photos. Ultimately, it won’t show in the finished sweater, but using matching thread is a good idea.

Here is a closer view of the stitching showing how the two side stitches are enclosed by the zig zag stitch. Some people like to sew each stitch twice for security. I’ve never had a problem with just one row of stitching and the extra stitching adds bulk to the edge that I really don’t like.

Time to cut! Using regular scissors, cut carefully along the center of the marked stitch. Be sure to only cut the top layer of the sweater or you will really have a mess.

That’s it! Now you have an uneven, wobbly and slightly stretched out edge, just what we wanted.

Don’t worry, the unevenness and lenghtwise stretch will be taken care of when the borders are worked. The sewing thread and that ragged front will also be hidden by the stitches worked over the edge. The fronts will be finished with crochet bands of some sort.

Now, it’s time to work out the details for the crochet front borders, hem bands and sleeve cuffs. Also, I need to start giving some serious thought to the buttons and other finishing details- like the flowers that I promised her. Thinking about it, I’m not sure if this will be done by Saturday, but let’s see what happens.

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Everyone Needs a Little Whimsy in Their Life

Happy Holidays All! We are settling in for our Christmas break and I am working on a variety of projects, and nursing an unpleasant cold as well, and thought to share one of my gifts with you. This was from a good friend who knows me well. I was so excited that I actually jumped up and down. It is a kit for a miniature fairyland forest. Look here to see the product information. It even comes with the little fairy house!

This is a perfect gift and shows how well my friend knows me as the fairies have camped in my garden this past summer. Here is a picture of the camp among the flowers. You can just see the rosemary on the little bed and the wee fire pit is ready for the evening fire.

Another bit of whimsy in my life is the WhimpleTree Bunny Cottage. While it is still in progress, the outside is not painted yet and some niceties inside are missing, the residents seem happy with it. Mr. and Mrs. Bunny are hand made, to scale, bunnies living in this one twelfth scale doll house. The furniture and decorations are moved and varied with the seasons – and Mrs. Bunny’s whims!

Here is Mrs. Bunny downstairs with the Christmas tree and other decorations. The table base is a tree stump sculpted out of Creative Paperclay and then painted and sealed. The stove is from a kit and there are crocheted and tatted rugs on the floors. Mrs. Bunny really likes her cast iron stove and she has a sewing machine upstairs.

Because it is the holidays, Mr. Bunny felt that the outside of the house should be a little more festive. Here he is on the front porch with the wreath and garlands he put up.

There are quite a few more things to do in addition to painting the outside of the house. The Bunnies would like a comfy couch downstairs, Mr. Bunny’s garden is not finished, they might like some clothes, and not to mention all the accessories that make a house a home, but they seem happy in the meantime so it will be an enjoyable process to complete and furnish the house.

I hope you enjoyed this little bit of a whimsical diversion. Now, back to all the projects waiting!

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Girl’s Sweater Update and FAST Christmas Gift

Well, it has become painfully obvious that I will not finish my goddaughter’s sweater by Christmas. Thankfully, we have gotten her lots of other presents.

Here is a picture of it in progress – in all its edge rolling, yarn ends flapping, underarm gaping glory to document my progress, or lack of it.

When the yoke is deep enough, it will be time to sew and cut the front open. To document that thrill, there will be step by step photos. Then the borders and edgings can be worked to take care of that stockinette curl that develops at the edges.

On the design front, I can say that I’ve chosen the yarn for the flowers and will be swatching those soon. It is the next darker shade of Woolease-Dark Rose Heather. I found a couple balls of it in my stash.

To address the last minute, or at least last day, handmade Christmas gift, I give you Felted Potholders. These are fast to make and are quite nice to use. I have been kitchen testing a pair for myself and they work as well as any purchased potholder I have had. Here are the Cadet Blue potholders from my kitchen.

To make them, use 100% wool yarn that will felt – be sure it is not superwash wool. I used Lion Wool for this pair in Autumn Sunset. These happen to be crocheted, but you can knit them as well. They are about 8.5 inches square before felting. This photo is before felting.

To Crochet:

Chain 28, work a half double crochet in the 2nd chain from hook and each chain across, chain 2 and turn. Continue in half double crochet until potholder is square and end with chain 12 (for loop) and slip stitch in beginning of chain. End off and work in ends.

To Knit:

Cast on 32 stitches. Work in garter stitch until potholder is square, bind off. With last loop remaining, chain 12 (for loop) and slip stitch in beginning of chain. End off and work in ends.

To Felt:

Wash in washing machine with hot water and a towel for more agitation. Dry flat and adjust shape to square.

If you have a need for a useful handmade gift, give these a try!

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In Progress: Design and Knit a Little Girl’s Sweater, Part Two

Well, we had a wonderful time visiting with our friends and goddaugther. My goodness, she is really tall for her age! At only 2 1/2 years old, she is 38 inches tall. She looks more like a 3 or even a 4 year old. If I didn’t mention she is absolutely beautiful, I should. Sorry, since she’s not my child, I can’t post her picture here – privacy and all that.

On to the sweater…. The body is nearly to the armhole now and one sleeve is done – all in extra long of course. I did add about two inches of length to each piece after seeing her in person, but the circumference is nearly perfect. Big enough to leave room to grow, but not so large as to be sloppy.

Now that I’ve had some knitting and thinking time, the details are starting to come into focus. Here’s a very rough sketch from my idea book.

A Pirate Meets Princess look will suit her nicely as she likes both. The flowers and other trim will be embroidered or sewn after the sweater is finished. The flower heads will most likely be crocheted for more dimension with the stems embroidered. A little faux passementerie on the sleeves adds a little more decoration.

The crocheted lace on the sleeves will serve a dual purpose. It will finish the plain stockinette. It will also be a lengthening device as it can be folded down as she grows. The construction will have to be worked out, but something along the lines of a French cuff held with a decorative button should work. The belt on the back will be adjustable for the same reason as the body will be a tad loose to start.

The collar is still in the contemplation stage as are the front borders and closure. Another, more detailed, sketch will be forthcoming when they sharpen up. After I finish the other sleeve, it will be time to join it all together and complete the yoke. Then the cutting open – with photographs!

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In Progress: Design and Knit a Little Girl’s Sweater

Today, I’m starting a sweater for my Goddaughter and thought it would be interesting to detail the design and construction steps as they proceed. The design process is not necessarily as straight forward as design and then knit; the designing goes along with the knitting to some degree. Sometimes it goes along with the unknitting (or frogging, as we like to call it) as well!

I promised her a pink sweater with flowers, so the color and design theme is set. Then, I found some Wool Ease, great for kids and moms because it is machine washable, in the local store. It is Rose Heather, a very soft muted rose that is not as babyish as the candy pinks, but still good for a little girl.

Since I knit better and faster in the round, this sweater will be constructed that way even though it will ultimately be a cardigan. To that end, I’ll sew and cut the front then finish with the borders. The yoke and shoulders will be raglan style simply because I think it looks neater and more tailored than the round yoke style.

The body will be basic stockinette stitch so I can go ahead and get started without having to work through stitch patterns or consider too many finishing details. The edges will be worked on at the end along with the cardigan borders and will likely be crochet of some type. That leaves me free to work all that out as I knit. This little sweater will really be designed as it progresses.

Sizing is next but since all I know for now is her general size and that she is tall for her age, I’ll just use standard size charts to get started. From those charts, I know that the chest measurement is about 23 inches and the ease to add for a loose-fitting garment is 4 to 6 inches. So, the sweater will be 28 inches around.

We’ll be seeing her and her parents this weekend and that will give me a much better idea of the proportions. That will enable me to develop the sizing in more detail in the next post as well as have a sketch of the design idea.