Thursday, 9 May 2013
ribbon-tied wool vest
The Vital Statistics
Pattern: Ribbon-tied wool vest by Erika Knight from Simple Knits for Cherished Babies.
Size: 3 to 6 months.
Yarn: Patons Australia Bluebell Merino 5ply (100 per cent merino) in colourway 0100; 1.3 skeins.
Needles: 3.25mm and 3.75mm.
Start to finish: 22 April to 8 May 2013.
Stash/recycle content: Yes!! I have had this yarn in stash since ... since ... long ago.
Comments: I love this book by Erika Knight and have already knitted a few things from it - the Baby's Beanie Hat, Chunky Knit Cardigan, Garter Stitch Wrap Top). I even drove for what seemed like miles to borrow it from a library when I was pregnant with miss bear (now our local library, ha ha). Both times when I was pregnant I had lofty hopes to knit a handful of these little vests, one in each size, but I am glad that I didn't. Cherished as my babies were, this is not a simple knit.
Admittedly, I made things harder by modifying the structure a lot by converting it to seamless but I think that if I hadn't, and there had been seaming to do, it would have been even more work. Of course, there wouldn't have been the brain power required to convert it (ok, not a lot of brain power but I don't have much to spare!) if I had simply followed the pattern.
Modifications I made were:
- knit in the round to the underarms with a fake seam (one stitch knit in reverse stocking stitch) and used this neat TechKnitter trick of crossing the stitches over where I divided for the underarms. Techniques like this are great to know with the increase in patterns with seamless structure.
- made the neckline decreases one stitch in from the neck edge.
- grafted the shoulders with Kitchener stitch instead of using a three-needle bind-off.
- knit the sleeves from the top down using short rows to shape the sleeve cap. How did I work that one out?? I just winged it!
Now that is not a common approach for me. By winging it I mean I figured out how it should go (must surely go?) instead of actually checking one of the many patterns on hand at my disposal with top-down sleeve instructions to check how it is done.
The pattern directs you to cast on 50 stitches for this side, to knit for 2.5cms and then decrease 1 stitch at the beginning of the next 10 rows, finishing with 40 stitches. That's the sleeve head shaping and that's what I was cogitating about (cogitating - thinking but with more effort); how to achieve that with short rows?
As I write this, I realise that I got my numbers wrong, I assumed an end stitch count of 30 stitches - oops. Anyway, it worked well in my opinion. Here's what I did:
Even though there were 30 stitches at the end (in my version) there were still 50 lines of stitches travelling all the way to the armscye. So, I picked up 48 stitches (2 stitches less to compensate for the seam that I wouldn't be working because I was going to knit the sleeves in the round) and commenced knitting in the round.
I knit to the halfway point (that is 24 stitches to the the top of sleeve), then worked in short rows (knit 15 sts, wrap and turn; purl 30 stitches, wrap and turn ; knit 31 stitches, wrap and turn; purl 32 stitches, wrap and turn and so forth) until there were 10 short rows (last short row being purl 38 stitches), picking up the wraps as I went. The Purl Bee's short row tutorial was really helpful here because I always get the pick-ups wrong on the purl rows.
One more wrap and turn and then I continued knitting in the round, picking up the last wrap made, then knit straight for 2.5cms. I knit the ribbing back and forth as I always do because I really dislike that jog when you cast off in the round. Quick flat seam to join the ribbing and done.
The ribbon I'm not so sure about. The effect is lovely but I wonder about safety. I stitched the ribbon to the neckline at the back so that it couldn't come loose but cautioned the mum-to-be to just remove it altogether if she wasn't comfortable with it. Ideally it would be sewn together at the bow but then the top would not go on over a baby's head.
The Bluebell does make for a lovely fabric (I used it to knit both of the baby blankets that I have made) but I wish that I had used a needle size smaller for better fabric.
Verdict: The final product is darling and now that I have it worked out I'm sure that any future versions would be much simpler to complete!