Recently in Circles Stroller Jacket Category

A Sweater Revisited

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This little jacket never got a proper photo shoot when I completed it.  Ms. Z has gotten rather larger than when she first tried it on and when we were out to take in the Renegade it was pretty clear there would only be a few more wearings left since she's gotten so big.  So I made sure I got a few last pictures to celebrate the jacket and the baby who is well on her way to becoming a vibrant and vocal toddler.

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Getting dressed before we headed out -- the sleeves aren't too long anymore!

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A much nicer showing for the jacket, I think!  Outdoor light, a happy weekend and an active baby.

This weekend we had wonderful guests -- Z had a playmate her exact same age (just a day older) to pal around with.  We had a lot great baby adventures but not much time for knitting or blogging.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.   More in progress shots on my next post.


Circles Stroller Jacket Finished!

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I never would have guessed before I had a baby that I would have enjoyed knitting baby wear.  I am not sure whether I am enjoying it so much because I'm a product knitter and knitting small things gives me the pleasure of having a complete creation or because there's nothing quite as sweet as seeing something I have knit on a small, beautiful baby with a big smile.  Like all things, no doubt it is a little of both.


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Here's the finished jacket -- it's hard to get a good picture of a garment with a hood;  hoods add a garment part in a third direction and I wasn't able to find a good way to really show it off the way I wanted to.  But, hopefully, this picture shows how all the elements play together -- along with some of my wonky circles.

20080126_CirclesZipperDetai.jpgI was surprised how much I liked the last detail elements of the garment.  I didn't think the zipper pull would do much for me until I put it on the jacket.  Nothing like an up close photo to make it clear just how wonky some of those circles are.  However, I have a feeling that on a three dimensional very cute baby, that bit of wonkiness won't be so obvious.  (To make the D&D analogy... small sweater makes saving throw vs. baby with charisma of 18+.... oohh! sweater loses that die roll...)

20080126_CirclesHoodDetail.jpgThe other extremely sweet little detail was the top loops attached to the point of the hood.  All these loops are made a little differently from the circles on the jacket.  When I first read about the construction, I thought it would be fussy and a little bit annoying to make, but it actually turned out to be easier (for me) than those circles.  Essentially the rings are just yarn-wrapped I-cords.  Something I might have to remember for the future!

20080126_ZosiaWearingCircle.jpgBut what truly makes this jacket super cute is the little girl who is going to get to wear it this spring.  It is a tad big for her right now (which is what I was striving for  -- I didn't line it, so it will fit well over another layering piece), but it looks so soft and comfy, I almost want to knit an adult sized one for myself.  And I just love seeing her smiling little face surrounded by that hood.  It makes all that embellishing time completely worthwhile.

For anyone thinking about making this garment (the Circles Stroller Jacket from Itty Bitty Nursery), it is lovely and easy and a chance to let your creative side roam as much as you want it to.  It would make a lovely special baby gift  for a friend who appreciates hand knits, and it really doesn't take all that much time even with all the embellishing.  The Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton is a treat to knit with and soft as silk against baby skin without all the special handling needs (I still wouldn't put this garment through an aggressive machine wash cycle, but I'm thinking it would do just fine on the delicate cycle in both the washer and dryer). 

However, I did find a couple of minor errors in the pattern (probably just due to the fact that I have an early edition of the book and there's no errata that I could find posted yet), so you will want to read through carefully before starting to make sure that everything makes sense to you before you get started.    None of the errors are terribly serious, but they could be irritating if you're in a hurry.

I didn't make too many changes to the construction.  However, I handled the hood edging differently than the pattern stated.  I worked the edging as I knitted up the hood rather than knitting the edging and attaching it to the hood later.  I hate seaming and I thought that it would just add bulk in a place that didn't need any extra bulk. 

Embellishing a Little Jacket

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20080120_CirclesJacketHalfE.jpgThere's nothing like a blank canvas to inspire creativity.  That empty natural colored baby jacket didn't stay that way for long.  First, I set in the zipper (not really all that hard, thanks to my trusty sewing machine), and then I set about adding to the jacket the embellishment that gives it its name: the circles.    In the photo above, I've crocheted all the circles onto the jacket and am working my way around adding the satin stitch that gives the circles the interesting raised texture.

20080120_EmbellishingCircle.jpgOne thing that became clear in this process: it's harder to free hand a circle with a crochet hook than you might think.  It also takes longer than you might think.  When this jacket is all said and done, I am betting that I'll have spent almost as much time on the embellishing process as on knitting the main part of the jacket.  The close-up shows the completed circles and a set that have been "outlined" with crochet and are awaiting their satin stitch covering.  I nixed the idea of taking the circles around the bottom and back of the jacket because, frankly, I got a little tired of putting on the circles.  But the nice thing about not lining the jacket is that I can continue to add circles to it any time I feel like it.

Once I finish covering the remaining circles, the only things left to do will be the zipper pull and some additional rings that embellish the top point of the hood.  And then maybe we'll try the thing on a certain baby that lives in my house now.   It will be way too large for her, but baby photo shoots are way too much fun!  


Unembellished Baby Jacket

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While posting time has been limited, knitting time hasn't been as bad.  John and I spent New Years in Ann Arbor with my family, and I spent some of my free time working on the Circles Stroller Jacket from Itty Bitty Nursery by Susan B. Anderson.

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Pretty simple, eh?  Simple, but a delight to knit up because the Blue Sky Alpaca's Organic Cotton is simply the nicest cotton yarn I've ever put my hands on.  It's so soft it's like knitting with silk!  If you wanted to make someone's baby a special garment out of a luxury fiber, this stuff definitely has that kind of feel, while still retaining the washability of cotton.  Perhaps the only drawback is that it only comes in "natural" colors, which, depending on the baby, can be a bad thing.  So far, Z isn't too hard on her light colored clothing...

This sweater called for 3 skeins of the yarn and I made the largest size (supposedly 12-18 months, but I don't think it's going to work quite that long for Z), and I definitely used enough of the third skein to say that the yarn estimates were on target.  Even if I had made a smaller size, I suspect that three would have been required.  The hood soaks up more yarn than you might think it would. 

This little sweater has a nice construction process, the back and two fronts are knit flat and a three needle bind-off is used to attach the pieces together.  Then you pick up and knit the sleeves on.  The hood is put on in a similarly simple way, making it the sort of garment that can be worked on in a car or on a couch, depending on your needs.

It's not finished, yet.  I have a custom-sized zipper on the way from The Zipper Stop (an easily affordable luxury) and I still have to embellish it with the fun circles that drew my eye to the project in the first place.   So not only do my knitting needles get a nice work out, I get to play with my crochet hooks and sewing machine as well.  This will be the first time I've ever tried to put in a zipper with a machine -- and only my second zipper insertion ever!

Circles Stroller Jacket Start

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In an effort to keep the number of projects I have going under control, I'm trying not to start anything new until after I've finished something on my active list of current projects.  Since I just finished the Diamond Fantasy Shawl, I get to get started on another project: the Circles Stroller Jacket from Itty Bitty Nursery by Susan B. Anderson.



Itty Bitty Nursery is one of those books that takes simple concepts and makes them inspirational -- at least for me.  There are several projects that I wish I could just dive right into.  I decided to start with this one because it seemed like the sort of thing that Ms. Z might get a lot of wear out of.  I'm making it in the 12-18 month size, but it measures to be not that different from the 6 month size embroidered denim jacket that I bought for her from Baby Gap -- the main difference is the length in the body.  Z's actually quite a long baby for her age.  At her 4 month check up the pediatrician told us she is currently in the 85th percentile for height.  So it's my hope that this jacket will work for us this spring and into the fall -- assuming I can get it finished in the next couple of months.

The yarn that the project calls for is Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton.  I am currently ignoring the impracticality of using almost white yarn for a baby jacket because I love the look of the cream colored jacket with the soft taupe crocheted circles.  And because I love the yarn.  I don't think I've really ever knit with 100% cotton yarn before, and this yarn is really a treat.  It's soft and quite lofty and I think it will be just lovely against Z's skin.  Clearly we'll just have to avoid bright colored food when she's wearing it.  But at least it will be washable.

I'm beginning to understand why a lot of knitters who become moms knit baby items -- right now anything larger seems like an impossible goal, and surrounding my daughter in soft handmade things has become irresistable.

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