Recently in Top Down Cardigan, Irving Park Category

Tah-Dah!  One finished top-down raglan baby sweater. This small sweater was knit from Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in the colorway "Irving Park".  I used the Kniting Pure & Simple "Babies Neckdown Cardigan" as my framework for the pattern, but changed the sizing and converted the ribbing elements into seed stitch.  I also opted against a hood.  If you are looking for a worsted weight yarn sweater pattern model for the under two set, this is a good basic pattern to start from and the instructions are easy to follow. 

20090115_TopDownNeckline.jpgThis is the first time I have actually sewn buttons down on a sweater.  Amazing, eh?  I selected these little butterfly buttons because I thought the yellow made for a nice contrast with the sweater without stealing the show completely, and, of course, because Ms. Z loves butterflies.  She was remarkably patient with me, while I spent what probably seemed like an eternity to her, picking the final buttons (and, truth be told, I ended up coming home with several options because I was feeling very indecisive).

20090115_TopDownBack.jpgShe is getting increasingly hard to photograph, and the lousy weather of the last couple of weeks really limited my picture taking opportunities, but John and I were finally able to capture the little sweater in action. 

20090115_TopDownFrontNotBut.jpgBefore I headed out to buy the buttons, we had some good light in the house, so these pictures came from my first photoshoot.  Little doll, is she not?  I love some of the sweet and innocent looks she has.  You'd never believe she was really starting into those temper tantruming terrible twos, would you?*

20090115_TopDownFrontButton.jpgAnd here's the sweater fully completed and buttoned on to her.  Buttons, as I discovered, are not a toddler's friend.  Especially when there are 6 of them.  A zipper might have been a better call -- but she did like the butterflies.  I knit this sweater to be a little larger than most two year old sizes in hopes that it would also see some fall action.  I think it fits her well and still has a reasonable amount of growth room.  Will it make it to fall?  Only time will tell. 

20090115_TopDownBabyFace.jpgThis isn't really much of a sweater shot, but it's one of those photos that makes me smile -- she's smiling and reaching for the camera and her crazy fine hair is all over the place (she has her father's hair and hairline in spades).  It's so very Ms Z, so it seemed like a good way to wrap up this post and head into the weekend.

* She's actually not that bad so far, behavior-wise.  She's definitely trying to test her limits, but she's still a lot of fun to be with.

Little Top Down Sweater


20090106_TopDownBabySweater.jpgMost of a little sweater courtesy of Knitting Pure and Simple's Babies Top Down Cardigan.  The largest size for this cardigan is 18 months.  I'd like the sweater to last Ms. Z into the fall, so did an extra set of increases to make give the sweater a 25" circumference instead of a 24" circumference.  I also made the sweater an inch longer and am going to make the sleeves an inch longer, too (sleeves can always be rolled up, I figure).  I don't know if that's really a 2 year old size or not, but it seems like after you get past the 1 year sizes, sizes start to vary a lot for baby clothes at different ages.   I made one more small change: the neckband, bottom band, front bands and cuffs are all going to be in seed stitch instead of K1P1 ribbing -- I thought that that would be a little more feminine.   

I'm almost finished with the first sleeve and I only have the second sleeve to knit.  I'm estimating that I'm going to use about 1/2-2/3 of the second skein of Shepherd's Worsted.  I decided against the hood for this project.  I'm guessing that there wouldn't be quite enough yarn in the second skein for the hood and I like the simplicity of the little sweater without the hood. 

Ms Z. is getting quite excited about her little sweater.  I'm hoping that I can get the rest of the knitting done tonight and tomorrow and on my day off on Thursday I can take her to Joann's and pick out a cute set of buttons to finish up the project with.

Free Day


What's a girl to do when the nanny is already scheduled to come take care of the baby and has a vacation day planned?  Well, on Friday I decided I needed an inspiration day and after meeting John for lunch downtown I spent some time in a coffee shop enjoying a latte and working out the details of my current sock project.

20090104_ChicagoArt.jpgIn addition to my knitting, I also had my camera stowed in my bag.  Ever since I got my DSLR I've wanted to take a walking tour of downtown because there are so many striking pieces of art lurking around Chicago.  This is Alexander Calder's Flamingo
it was on the way to the coffee shop and a destination more interesting to South Loop Chicago knitters: Loopy Yarns.

20090104_LoopyFront.jpgI hadn't visited Loopy since their move to Dearborn Station (I am lucky to have two other yarn stores within relatively easy walking distance of my house so I don't need to go too far from home very often for fibery things) so I was pleasantly surprised by their new space -- as well as the 20% off sale they had running.  I had forgotten what a nice selection of Lorna's Laces yarns they carry.  Many places carry the sock yarn, but fewer carry the Shepherd Sport and Shepherd Worsted. 

What's particularly notable about the Shepherd yarns is that they are superwash.  And they are very soft.  And the Worsted is a perfect weight for a quick sweater for a certain toddler that lives in my house.  Lately in the mornings when she sees me... "Sweater, Mommy!  Pretty!"  and then she reaches up to pet my sweater.  I've been working on the Zebra Striper, but that one is a long way off.  Even though my better judgement kept trying to tell me that starting another project right now would lead to no good, my heart reminded me that I had no suitable yarn for a sweater for the baby, and that I had better not miss out on an opportunity to make her a sweater while she actually wants one, as opposed to when she is 14 and wants nothing to do with anything her mother can make by hand.

20090104_LLShepherdWIrvingP.jpgAnd what could be nicer than buying just two or three skeins of yarn for a sweater?  Especially when that yarn is 20% off?  The colorway I picked (which is not quite so bold as it looks in the image -- the bright fuschia in the sock yarn really blows the whole picture out) is called Irving Park and it seemed like a lovely colorway that would do well both this winter and in the fall (assuming I make the sweater large enough).  I loved the pops of purple and pink, the hand is lovely, and the yardage is good (225 yards/hank).  I figured 2 skeins would be enough, but bought a third "to be safe".  (The fuschia sock yarn is for a sock project for Z.  If anyone can wear bright pink socks, its a toddler girl). 

20090104_BabySweater.jpgWhen I got it home, I was surprised by how fast my knitting malaise disappeared.  I cast on for the project after dinner -- by the end of the day on Sunday, I had the body of the sweater complete and was working on the neck and button bands (the photo is lacking because I got some stomach bug Sunday afternoon that forced me into some unscheduled down time).  The sleeves will get started as soon as I can get a hold of some size 8 double points.  Every time I do a top down raglan project I just love love love how it progresses. 

It is amazing to me how one small project can change my attitude completely.  As I watch this little sweater grow, I also spend time thinking about what I am going to do next.  Maybe it's time to get started on that scarf I planned for my aunt 3 Christmases ago?  Or maybe I'll finally get to working on my pattern for mini-dragon socks for mini-feet?  The possibilities seem endless

Now, if you'll forgive me, I've got to run.  That neck band and button band are calling!