18” Doll Cardigan with Lacy Raglan Seam

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18” Doll Cardigan with Lacy Raglan Seam

After knitting two little baby sweaters in the “top down” raglan design, I decided to try a couple variations. One way to practice a concept is to make doll clothes. The 18” dolls, like the American Girl Dolls and those like them are large enough to judge results, but small enough to work the project up quickly without too much material. Here is picture of the finished sweater and the pattern for making it.

This is the story of this pattern for a lacy cardigan for an 18” doll. My approach to many projects is like sighting in a gun. Try it, fix it, try it, fix it again.

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I had been using US 5 needles for the baby sweaters so I had a gauge for them using baby yarn. I really wanted to use worsted weight since I have so much of it so I measured the dolls and guessed at the gauge. If you are a regular reader you know that I am lazy and optimistic when it comes to gauge.

My plan was to cast on some stitches (40), knit some ribbing (K1P1 for 3 rows), use a single stitch as the raglan “seam”, increase before and after each seam with a YO stitch (to create holes in a lacy pattern), create front plackets (K4) at the start and end of each row, create buttonholes with YO (4 evenly spaced), and finish the body and sleeves with ribbing (K1P1 for 4 rows). Easy peasy, right?!

Here’s how I came up with 40 stitches to cast on:

Front Placket – 4

Front – 3

Seam – 1

Sleeve – 6

Seam – 1

Back – 10

Seam – 1

Sleeve – 6

Seam – 1

Front – 3

Front Placket – 4

I first guessed that the raglan region should be about 16 rows. That would give me 8 increases since increases are only done every other row on the right (knit) side. Each increase row adds 8 stitches, one before and one after each of the 4 seams. Half of those stitches are in the body and half are in the sleeves. That gave me a body of about 58 stitches and that seemed like a good starting point.

When the body was done and the sleeve stitches were still on their holding yarn, I tried it on the doll. Big moment.

It was passable. If I were in a hurry to give the sweater to someone I would have finished it, sewn on the buttons and sent it away. But I was really interested in perfecting the pattern so I didn’t even finish the sleeves. There were several things I didn’t like about this first attempt and set out to fix them.

  1. The worsted weight yarn on the small size 5 needles was so bulky that it filled in the spaces around the raglan seam and holes obliterating them visually. The lace didn’t show up.
  2. The sweater is generally just too big.
  3. The buttonholes were created in the front placket by K2, YO, K2tog. To space them evenly I tried to recreate this look working back across on a purl (WS) row. As you can see from the picture, I did not get the horizontal spacing right. Sometime I will work on that issue, but for now, all buttonholes should be created in the same direction, at the start of the knit (RS) rows.

There really was not choice but to switch to a lighter weight yarn. I guess the worsted weight yarns will just have to wait for a different project. I chose a Lion Brand  Wool-Ease sportweight yarn (5 oz = 435 yards) color 232 “Wood” and knit the exact same pattern with no changes. There was really no quick way to tell how much effect the lighter yarn would have on the sweater’s fit. So this was shot number 2.

The sweater was too small. I was starting to feel like Goldilocks. So I decided to extend the raglan seam 2 rows, extend the length of the body 4 rows and extend the length of the sleeves.

This third attempt was pretty close to the target. I think the sleeves are still a little short. Four to six more rows and they will be perfect.

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I like the pattern and I think the details in the raglan seam show up much better with the lighter weight yarn.

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Just for fun, I have included these two pdf documents to show how to make a pattern reader that acts as both instructions and a row counter.

Doll Cardigan Reader Version

Pattern Reader

Full Disclosure – This was not my idea!

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Print the instructions and trim them. Print the reader and use a sharp cutter to slice along the lines. Insert the instructions into the gap. As you can see, only one row at a time is visible. At the end of each row, slide the instructions up to the next line. Using this device, there is no need for a separate row counter. In this example I figured out exactly how many stitches were in each row and described what to do with them. You may think this is excessive in detail, but I’m sure some new knitters (or those who get disturbed often) will appreciate it.

I hope you enjoy the sweater pattern. Post a picture of your sweater in the comment section if you make one. I would enjoy seeing them.

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

Confetti Baby Sweater

I don’t like to have more than one project on needles at a time, but babies just won’t wait. So I set aside the Fair Isle Sampler Scarf that I have been working on and decided to knit this sweater for my niece whose baby is due soon.

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I used a free pattern I found online. I had already made this sweater in a marl grey for another family baby.

 

sweater patternTop Down Raglan Baby Sweater     Designed by Carole Barenys

I am very grateful to those who share instructions online. I used her newborn size but it turned out bigger, maybe 9 month.

 

yarn front

 

 

I used the same kind of Bernat Softee Baby yarn that I used last time, in a different color. The sweater is VERY soft and cuddly.

 

 

 

 

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The yarn I used this time is confetti color and turned out really cute.

Note the little buttonhole (at the left in the picture above) created by a YarnOver stitch followed by KnitTwoTogether.

Here some more pictures.

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I love the way this pattern uses two purl stitches to delineate the raglan seam. It make a little “ditch” that is very pretty.

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The cuffs and collar are knit on smaller needles than the rest of the sweater to make the ribbing nice.

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I used white buttons. I would have preferred pink, but the local fabric store seems to have a more limited selection every time I go there.

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The design is top down, so there are no seams. Last time I used rigid stitch holders to hold the sleeve stitches while I finished the body. The stitches in the underarm area seemed to get stretched out. So this time I use yarn to hold the stitches. It didn’t help. I still had to reweave the area. Next time I will do a little research and see if I can find out what I am doing wrong.

I hope she likes it. It is so much fun to knit for babies. I will drop the package in the mail today.

Now, back to my scarf.

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

 

 

March For Science Hats

I am in support of science and I have become convinced by the evidence that the process of peer review is a self correcting path forward to understanding the universe in which we live.

Logo

On Earth Day, April 22, 2017 there will be a March For Science in Washington DC and satellite marches in other cities around the country. Why would someone march for science? Why would such a thing be necessary?

Because, non-partisan, evidenced based policy is in the public interest.

If you want to make a hat to wear, or just to commemorate the occasion, here is my contribution.

The women’s Peer Review Hat pattern is 64 stitches. If you make it with a US size 8 or 9 needle, it should fit most women. The men’s Demand Evidence Hat pattern is 88 stitches. I suggest a US size 6 needle for a man’s hat. Use whatever gauge you need to make a hat with the circumference you plan. I feel certain that my science friends will be able to figure out the math using these guidelines.

In honor of science, the measurement are are given in SI units.

Note that the patterns appear as reverse lettering. This is because the knit stitches are worked counter-clockwise but people read the message clockwise. This issue doesn’t affect motifs like snowflakes, animals, or geometric patterns as they can be reversed and still look OK. But letters are different, they have to be oriented in the correct direction and placed in order correct. Except I guess for some words with reversible letters and letter orders: MOM, TOT, OH HO. Though I have never actually knit any of these words on a hat.

 

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Peer Review Backwards

 

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Demand evidence backwards

As with my other recent projects, I tried to practice a new technique with the hats. On the Peer Review hat, the white strand is carried across the back of the work for quite a distance, especially at the top and bottom of the letter pattern. After watching a few videos and checking out a few posts, I learned how to “trap” the yarn every few stitches so that it did not hang too loosely in these places.

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I had a bit of trouble pulling the trapped strand too tight so that it showed through from the front, but I got better as I went along.

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In this picture you can see several of my tricks. I use a different color marker (white in this case) to show the beginning of the round and to distinguish that from the section stitch markers (cream color). You can also see that I use a gray “life line” before I started the crown. This is because no matter how careful I am I sometimes let a DP needle slip out of the work. I think it is particularly difficult to pick up all the stitches on circular work since it won’t lay flat on the table as you try to save it. The life line is a thread that is run through all the stitches at some point. If you have to pull out stitches, this offers an easy place to pick them back up again.

I am always so grateful for the willingness of others to share their expertise. You never know when the advice you post will be exactly the thing that someone needs to move forward. These bits of advice are timeless and will continue to provide instruction and encouragement for …… I don’t know how long. How long will the internet be around?

I plan to send my commemorative hats off to my favorite science couple.  Remember, as the woman’s sign says:

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Baby Sweater and Hat – Expanding My Repertoire

 

Lately it seems I have been knitting a lot of easy hats, scarves, shawls, and cowls. They are fun and relaxing, but I have decided to try some new things. I have been trying to select projects that force me to practice new or more complicated techniques.

My nephew and his wife are expecting a baby soon so I decided to knit a sweater and hat. This Bernat Softee Baby yarn in grey marl color was hard to resist.

Those of you who are frequent readers know that I am rather lazy and over confident when it comes to gauge, so I wasn’t surprised when the sweater turned out a little bigger than expected. Nice that the baby can grow into it. I used a free pattern:

sweater pattern

 

Top Down Raglan Baby Sweater     Designed by Carole Barenys

I am very grateful to those who share instructions online. I used her newborn size but it turned out bigger, maybe 9 month.

For the hat  I used measurements (again, thanks to those of your who share your knowledge) to decide dimensions, used the same size needles and the same yarn as the sweater, so I already knew the gauge. The hat turned out newborn size. I thought about knitting a new sweater or a new hat so they would be matching size but in the end I just sent them both. Who can guess what size babies will wear in each season?

So here are the sweater and hat with a list of the new techniques I used to make each.

sweater with wordshat with words

I learned quite a bit with these items. I have started a new sweater for my niece’s expected baby. I am adjusting the size a bit. But I don’t want to tell too much because I want her to be surprised.

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

Knitting Needle Cases – Free Pattern

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chest front

I recently had an old spool chest refinished and plan to store my knitting supplies in it. I decided to sew some needle storage cases to keep my knitting supplies neat in the drawers. I had seen cases for sale but never any that I liked. They looked poorly made and seemed pricey. You will find the instructions for making these two cases and two others (for circular and DP needles) in this post.

green chest

The chest had belonged to my mother for as long as I could remember. It had been painted green at some point. Later someone began to strip the paint but only removed a little from the top. When I heard good things about a local refinisher, I decided to have it restored. It turned out really well.

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chest knob

Some of the green paint remains on the handles. I like it that way.

It seems appropriate that if it is not going to be used to store thread, that at least it should be used to store fiber craft supplies. There are enough drawers for knitting, crocheting, and weaving tools and instructions booklets.

To help organize the knitting needles I sewed four separate cases. One case for long straight needles, one for short straight needles, one for circular needles, and the last for double pointed needles. Each can lay flat in a drawer or be folded, stacked, and carried in a bag.

The fabric is cotton duck (sometimes called canvas). It is sturdy, inexpensive, and has a nice industrial look that I like. The binding on the edges is black, half inch wide, double fold bias tape.

Large and Small Straight Needle Cases

The two cases for straight needles are made in exactly the same way as each other. They are the same width, but have different lengths.

1. For the smaller case for 10” needles, cut a piece of fabric 13” wide and 24” long. For the larger case for 14” needles, cut a piece of fabric 13” wide and 33” long.

2. Sew a piece of bias tape on one of the short sides. No need to finish the edges as they will be covered up.

3. Fold the side with the bias tape up 9” as shown for the small case and 13” for the large case.

small1

4. At two places, mark the center 6 1/2” from each edge as shown.

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5. Mark the center line with a straight edge and pin the fabric in place so it won’t slip as shown.

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6. Stitch along the center line. I ran the stitching back and forth at the bottom and at the bias tape. This is not a prom dress that needs to “hang and flow”. It is a case that may get some tugging so no harm in making it sturdy.

stitching dividers

7. Mark the rest of the divider lines, each 1 inch apart as shown. The outer sections will be a bit wider since this is where the bias tape edges will be applied.

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8. Stitch each dividers as you did the center divider. Stitch back and forth at the top and bottom to make them sturdy.

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9. Cut and sew a piece of bias tape on the top edge. No need to finish the ends as they will be covered up.

top bias

10. Cut pieces of bias tape to finish the edges. Cut each piece about 26” long so you will have about an inch at each corner to fold under. This will give you a finished corner.

11. Draw a light pencil line as a guide for the numbers. I thought I had a stencil but couldn’t find it. So I just wrote the numbers free hand with a black Sharpie.

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The flap folds over to keep the needles in place. The case can be folded in half or rolled up.

L1L2L3L4

Case for Double Pointed Needles

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This case is made specifically for the DP needles that I have. I did not make a slot for every possible size like I did for the straight needles. You can adjust the widths of the slots for your own collection. I also have not numbered the slots yet, but will.

1. Cut a piece of fabric 20” wide and 22” long.

2. Sew pieces of bias tape on both 22” sides. No need to finish the edges as they will be covered up.

DP2

3. Fold the side with the bias tape up 9” as shown and mark the slots. I decided on two 3” pockets, four 1” pockets, four 3/4” pockets, and three 2” pockets. Starting at the left edge, make marks at the following distances from the left hand edge in inches.

3 1/2  – 6 1/2  – 7 1/2  – 8 1/2  – 9 1/2  – 10 1/2  – 11 1/4  – 12  – 12 3/4  – 13 1/2  – 15 1/2  – 17 1/2

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4. Mark and stitch slots. Sew forward and back at the top and bottom of each slot to make it sturdy.

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5. Cut pieces of bias tape to finish the edges. Cut each piece about 26” long so you will have about an inch at each corner to fold under. This will give you a finished corner.

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This case can be folded in thirds, inward from each edge. It is then the same width as the other cases. The fourth case, the one for circular needles can also be folded in thirds so the stack of all four cases is only 7” wide.

Case for Circular Needles

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The circular needle case has 15 pockets, each 6” x 6” to hold the needles. This case is a little different in that I tried to use the selvedge edge of the fabric in several places to avoid fraying. I cut the original piece of fabric with a selvedge edge at the top and didn’t apply bias tape because I was not sure I was going to have enough tape to finish. In the end, I did have enough and added it across the top just to make all the case look the same. Otherwise it would have bothered me. Some of you know what I mean.

I also cut the four 6” rectangle that make up the layered pocket with a selvedge edge. In this way, I could sew them to the main fabric piece without finishing them (which would add extra bulk) but also without having to worry that they would fray and come loose.

1. Cut a piece of fabric 20” wide and 28” long. Cut four other pieces 20” wide and 6” long. Try to use the selvedge edge along the 20” side of these smaller pieces. If you cannot, cut them 6 1/2” long and fold the edge under 1/2” and stitch. This will create a finished edge to sew onto the main fabric piece.

2. Stitch bias tape along the top and bottom of the large piece and along the top edge of the other four pieces.

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3. Draw four lines on the large fabric piece for placement of the smaller pieces. The lines should be measured from the bottom edge 14”, 12”, 10”, 8”. Sorry the ruler is backwards in the picture. Sometimes I think in unusual ways.

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4. Place the bottom edge of one small piece on the top, 14″, marked line of the large piece as shown. Stitch in place close to the selvedge edge.

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5. Place another small piece on the 12” line, sew in place. Continue in this way until all four small piece are sewn to the large piece.

6. Fold the bottom of the large piece up 6” and pin it.

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7. Draw stitching lines measuring from the left hand side at 6 1/2” and 13 1/2”.

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8. Stitch these lines, stitching back and forth at the top and bottom to reinforce the stitching.

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9. Cut pieces of bias tape to finish the side edges. Cut each piece about 30” long so you will have about an inch at each corner to fold under. This will give you a finished corner.

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This case can be folded in thirds, inward from each edge. It is then the same folded width as the other cases. Remember, I didn’t add the top piece of bias tape until the end so it is not shown in some  pictures.

all cases

Here is what the set of four cases look like with my needles in them. They all fold in half or thirds and are then 7” wide.

Even thought I plan to mostly keep them in the spool chest, I did sew up a matching bag to slide them all in for travel.

Now that I have the pattern designed, I plan to make more. I think I will try denim next. The bias tape was the most expensive part of the project so I think I will try to make my own bias tape next time. If I do, I will be sure to write about it.

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome!

 

Pink PussyCat Hat

I knit a lot of things for friends. Recently, a friend asked if I would knit a pink pussycat hat for her mother. I had seen pictures and started thinking about how I could make a hat with cat ears. Then it dawned on me that there were probably instructions online. No point in reinventing the wheel. Sure enough, I found this site.p6

The hat pattern was unusual. I had never knit a hat in this way before. A rectangular hat with ribbing at each end is folded in half and sewn along the two sides. These images are from the web site listed about.

The hat was easily knit on straight needles. I chose a pink variegated yarn.

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This is how it looks flat. The ears appear when it is worn. It was plenty large for an adult woman.

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I hope she likes it!

UPDATE (2/23/17)

I got a request for another hat after displaying this one. This time the color is bright pink.

Here is what the hat looked like before it was sewn.

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Here is what it looked like when finished.

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Knitting Update

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Yarn was on sale this month and I couldn’t help stocking up a little. Sometimes I get requests for items and that has been happening more since I started writing about knitting on my blog. People also see stuff in my Etsy store GoodForGoodnessSake. All profits from the store are donated to veterans charities.

Here are some things I have been working on.

Linda’s Hat

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After seeing the “Snowy Day Hats” in the Etsy store, a friend said she couldn’t decide between the gray one and the blue one. She liked the ribbing on the blue one but the color of the gray one. It was funny to watch her reaction when I said I could make her a gray one with the ribbing she liked. I guess people aren’t use to custom ordering.

Woman’s Beany

I really like working out new patterns for ideas that are rolling around in my head. Here is a woman’s beanie knitted with two strands of worsted weight yarn. The color combinations would be plentiful and it would be a great stash buster. I intend to knit several in team colors for the Etsy store (when I get time of course). I will write about the pattern later.

Super Warm Cowl

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This super warm and thick cowl is all about function. Made with thick yarn, it even stands up on its own. I had made one originally for a man, but his wife liked it so I made one for her, too. It stands up so well that I am considering using the pattern to make a basket.

Cozy Ear Warmer / Headbands

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The pattern for these easy cozy ear warmers is found in a previous post.

A friend wanted three ear bands for her daughter/granddaughters. I invited her to look over the yarn I had and she couldn’t narrow it down to three. So I told her I would knit her four chosen yarns into bands and she could choose from the finished projects. Whichever one she does not choose, I will sell in the Etsy store.

Shawl in a Ball Shawl

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An earlier post describes a shawl pattern called Silvery Shawl. I had to make three of those. As soon as people saw them (and felt them) I had several requests. I finally found the yarn called Shawl in a Ball that I had intended to use and now I am knitting the same pattern in a new yarn. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

That is what I have been up to lately. As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

 

Color Strand Ear Warmer / Headband

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Sometimes you don’t need a whole hat, just something to cover your ears.

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My last post was a pattern for an easy cozy headband. This is a slight variation of that pattern. Instead of alternating 3 rows of knit with 3 rows of purl across the whole headband, I replaced the center section with all knit rows and used color strand knitting (sometimes called Fair Isle).

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Wrong Side of Color Strand Headbands

Because the color strand section carries two threads across ( and also because I have not yet gotten the hang of leaving the strands loose enough) these bands fit a little more snuggly than the Cozy Ear Warmers from the last post. They are also a little heavier and warmer. The dark red one is made from a lighter weight wool yarn so it looks smaller when un-stretched.

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Right Side of Color Strand Headbands

But they still fit all the adult women who tried them on so I think the pattern is fine the way it is. If you like your band a little looser, just add a few more stitches in groups of 2 for the for the red patterns, 3 for the orange pattern, and 4 for the blue pattern.

instructions

 

 

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I chose these stitch patterns because they never had more than two stitches of the same color in a row. If you have more stitches of the same color in a row, this means that the other color is “carried” on the wrong side for a longer distance, leaving loose, hanging yarns. There are ways to prevent this, but I haven’t mastered them yet. So for now I use patterns with small motifs.

This is a great “stash buster” and they don’t take long. Try any color combinations you want! I was surprised how much I liked the orange and yellow band.

I will finish weaving the ends on these three and place them in my Etsy store, GoodForGoodnessSake. If you don’t have time to knit your own you can buy them there. Remember, all profits from the site are donated to veteran’s charities.

If you make one, post a picture in the comments section. It would be fun to see!

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

Easy Cozy Ear Warmer / Headband

Sometimes you don’t need a whole hat, just something to cover your ears.

purple-bandHere is an extremely easy pattern that goes quickly and is a great stash buster. Unstretched it measures 18” around and 3.5” wide. It easily stretches to 6” wide when worn. It requires about 75 yards of medium weight yarn.

 

 

 

direction

The picture above shows the difference between switching colors between two knit rows and switching colors between purl rows.

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Separate Pieces Before Assembly

Here is what the two separate pieces look like before assembly.

I made three bands, all the same except for color. The gray one got snatched up before I could get a picture of all three together. The other two will be for sale in my Etsy store GoodForGoodnessSake. So if you are too busy to knit them yourself you can buy them there. Remember, all the profits from the store are donated to veteran’s causes.

white-band

This is one of the early prototypes. I knit it and asked several people to try it on. The consensus was that it was too narrow and too loose. So I decreased the number of stitches to 65 and added another 6 rows. Again, I asked several people to try it on and they liked it so this is the pattern I have settled on.

red-band

Spoiler alert: Here is a preview of the new style of bands I am working on. Stay tuned for new ideas!

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

 

Cozy Cowl Hood

While shopping in Portland OR a few years ago, I saw a knit cowl hood in an outdoor store. It could be worn loosely around the neck like a scarf (one that doesn’t fall off) or could be raised and worn like hood.

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After a few experimental attempts, I came up with this pattern. It is one of the most requested items I make. I think I have made about a dozen so far.

It is easy, but takes a while, so leave yourself enough time if you are making one as a gift. There are 10,912 stitches. You will need about 350 yards of medium weight yarn. I really like Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash 100% wool. But I have made it with lots of other yarns as well. Some of the new ombre yarns are pretty.

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These are some leftovers of the Superwash colors I have used.

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I hope you enjoy the pattern. As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.