Recently in Phil'Onde Baby Sweater Category

There are a couple of projects that have been lingering.  One of them isn't really lingering so much as malingering.  It's finished, but I don't really like it, and, honestly, don't know quite what to do with it.

20080731_PhildarBabySweater.jpgOn the surface, this Phil'Onde baby pullover looks just fine.  It's complete, the collar is attached, it is ombred.  It's even big enough for the intended baby.  But it's really a failure.  Why?

  • It's shaped just like it looks -- like a big sack.  Even babies don't look all that good in big sacks.  
  • The armhole positions are more appropriate for a dog sweater than they are for a sweater for a human.  The sweater is flattened so that you see the front half.  There is an equal amount of back -- which means about 3/4 of the circumference of the sweater ends up between the baby's shoulders.   Way too much fabric in the wrong place.  So the sweater doesn't hang right.
  • This project was knit on smaller needles than the sweater I knit for myself out of the same yarn.  This created a very dense fabric.  Since the yarn is mostly acrylic, which is good for a baby garment, the dense fabric turns it into a very warm garment for a garment that is short sleeved and meant for warm weather. 
  • It's knit to gauge (yes, I checked several times) and it's knit for an 18 month old, and it's something like 34" around at the widest point.  Given that my bustline is around 34" this is clearly too much fabric for a child's garment.
  • I hate the way the kangaroo pocket sucked up all the dark pink part of the ombre ball.  It looks stark connected to the white fabric at the top.  I would have preferred the shading to be more gradual.
This garment is one of the rare total failures that I have found from Phildar.  I was completely sucked in by the cute baby wearing the garment in the picture that comes with the pattern.  But now I understand why the child was positioned the way she was, squatting down.  It makes the sweater appear much better fit than it really is. 

There's no picture of Ms. Z in this sweater.  I put it on her once, hated it instantly and could only think about getting her out of it and forgot to take a picture.  She's not all that excited about multiple wardrobe changes in short succession, so I'm not going to put it back on her for a photo shoot. It wouldn't make either of us happy.  And an ugly sweater is really not worth causing her distress.

So, instead, I'll close with a picture from last weekend when we took her to the Lincoln Park Zoo for the first time.

20080731_ZAtTheZoo.jpgShe's still around 20 lbs and is 30 inches tall now and is getting to be quite the accomplished walker (that little dark spot above her left eye is from a tumble she took while walking at the zoo -- so clearly she hasn't gotten everything worked out yet).  She is still a big flirt, but has gotten more reserved around people she doesn't know.  She's a lot more conscious of where John and I are and she makes a whole array of funny faces  on purpose -- she has one where she wrinkles up her nose that always makes us laugh.  She's also got clear words.  She knows who "Dada" is and is getting pretty good with using "Mama" in relation to the right person (she uses it for other things, too, like her bottle).   She has a word for bird "Caa" (which we think comes from the "quack quack" sound that we made when we showed her ducks) and "Ny ny" (the Polish word for "blankie").  She is beginning to understand "No!" and stern tones of voice -- and she gets very upset when you use them with her -- not entirely different from her mother, I fear.  She is still very much a "go go go" baby and while loving, is not very snuggly.  She has absolutely no interest in food that she cannot manipulate herself -- and John and I are beginning to wonder what the negative effects of an all pretzel diet could be for a toddler.

She really just continues to get more and more fun to be with all the time.  We just love her to pieces and can't imagine missing out on her happy smiles and new learning adventures.


Phil'Onde Baby Sweater Body

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20080210_PhilOndeTopProgres.jpgI've managed to finish the body of the Phil'Onde baby top.  It still falls into the category of "strange looking garment", but at least it's getting closer to the finish line.  This top will have a lot of volume in the back, given where the armholes are placed.  I think it's still going to be pretty large on Z when it's finished, but the farther I get, the more I think it's going to be pretty cute. I just wish I had a few more pictures of the completed garment so that I could be sure that I understood all of the finishing instructions.

True to normal form with Phildar patterns, all the collars and cuffs are knit separately and sewn on.  So that will be the next step in this project, and then I'm going to have to find some pretty buttons.  I'm just dying to get this project finished, because I have a truly spectacular project coming up to work on next, and I also want to work on making Z some hand knit toys.  It seems like we have a lot of those plastic made in China toy store toys coming home to roost at our house, and I would really love for there to be some soft toys that were made with love in Z's own home.

Happy Valentine's Day!

John and Z and I will probably be celebrating by ordering pizza from a local organic pizza place and watching Mythbusters.  Not as romantic as some of our Valentine's Days past, but just as special because this year I have a new tiny Valentine in my life.

Little Phil'Onde Sweater

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I love the rhythm of knitting a sweater in the round (makes you wonder why I haven't done more of them, eh?), but I find photographing them to be challenging when they are still on the needles.  My next little sweater project for Z is just flying -- I'm already past the point where the sweater is divided to make the sleeves. 

20080202_PhilOndeBabySweate.jpgTrue to my experience with most Phildar patterns, this one has a couple of clever construction components that I hadn't really encountered before.  This is the first time I have put a pocket that opens on both sides on a garment, and the sleeve construction, so far, is unique (I'll try to explain it better once I've finished it -- right now I'm still watching it come together and I haven't decided whether I think it's incredibly clever or just convoluted). 

For anyone interested in the pattern, it's numbered 405-287 and I think it was in one of the Phildar children's magazines that came out about the same time that the yarn did.  I purchased the pattern as the English only leaflet, and now I wish I had the book as well.  The English instructions are handy, but they lack the diagrams found with the French instructions and without the diagrams, some of the instructions aren't as clear as they might be (Phildar patterns are one of the things that really make me wish I'd stuck it out longer with my French language classes, in general, their patterns are quite elegant and easy to figure out when you can work from the French instructions). 

So far, this garment seems rather large, even for a 12 month old baby (yes, I am still getting gauge, I have checked several times), but since the top construction which will determine how the garment hangs is not finished, I will refrain from too much judgement.  And compared to knitting for adults, one of the things I am truly coming to appreciate about garments for small people is that exact sizing is not all that necessary.  And too big is always better than too small!

If you were expecting a quilting post, well, I was hoping to have one up, but last Thursday, which is usually my day to get some quilting work done (it's my day off during the week), ended up being a day that both John and I spent the day home suffering from a little bit of food poisoning.  It was hard enough to take care of Z let alone think about standing up to square up quilt blocks, so the quilt got ignored last week in favor of something that could be worked on while I sat on the floor with a baby.  (To give the sweet Z baby a lot of credit, she was a little angel during the day, and I was feeling much better by the evening when she started to get a little fussy... probably because her parents were both just so fussy themselves!)

On one of my recent trips to Macy's on State Street (how do I miss Marshall Field's... let me count the ways...) I saw the Ralph Lauren baby collection.  One of the things that I loved was the set of ombred baby garments for spring.  We're planning on a little vacation to Florida in early March, and they seemed like they would be perfect for that.  But then my sense of practicality kicked in and I remembered that I had something in my stash that would create the same effect and would create a much more special memory for me of Z's first trip to the ocean. 

20080126_PhilOndeBabyTopSta.jpgA long time ago (probably back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth), Phildar introduced and then quickly discontinued their Phil'Onde yarn.  Phil'Onde creates an ombred coloration in the garment as you knit.  If you remember my Phil'Onde Pull, you'll remember the effect the yarn creates.  I've really enjoyed that garment, and since Phil'Onde is mostly acrylic (but very soft and very nice -- not plasticky feeling at all), it's machine washable and also a sensible yarn for a baby garment.  I actually bought yarn for my sweater and then bought some for a sweater for John and, er, for the first of my nieces. I made the sweater for me, but never really got motivated to make the other two.  Now even my second niece is much bigger than the garment I was planning to make, even in the largest size.  Ah well, I guess we all know which road is paved with good intentions...

It does seem to be true, however, that if you wait long enough, things come back into style.  I've seen ombred things in a number of places (it seems to be trendy in shoes these days), so Z will have the opportunity to be a trendy beach baby.   What makes this garment a real treat to make is that it is all in the round.  So, even feeling lousy, it's not too hard to et a couple of rounds in here and there.  And, like all Phildar patterns that I've worked, it has just enough clever bits to keep the mostly mindless stockinette bits more entertaining. 

Although lately I've been avoiding pink for Z (after all, how much pink clothing can one baby girl have?!) I love this color, which Phildar called "nenuphar".  It's pink, but it has enough yellow in it to make it a more sophisticated color than the baby pink of most of the garments in Z's wardrobe. 

For those of you who might be wondering, when in the heck is she going to knit an adult sized sweater again, well, I don't have a great answer for that one.  I've been wanting to do it, but all the patterns that have caught my eye lately are pretty fitted, and I'm really trying to knit out of my stash rather than buying new yarn (trust me, it is no hardship to go shopping in my stash...).  Right now, my bust line is about 2" more substantial than before I got pregnant.  Since I am still nursing Z, I don't know if this is permanent change, or just temporary -- it seems to be one of those hard to predict things for a lot of women.  I'd hate to make a fitted sweater that I loved at the larger size and then wean Z, and find that suddenly I was back to my old size and that beautiful fitted sweater was now on the big and sloppy size. Or make a smaller size and never look right in it.  So baby garments, socks and house "garments" are high on my list right now.

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