can I have one too?

The toddler dress has been finished, buttoned, photographed and delivered. I wish I could take all the credit for having it all done in the space of one weekend, but I can’t – I had a lot of help. But let’s take it one step at a time. I have a lot to say about this project!

The yarn I used was Serenada by ISPE Padova, a 50-50 blend of merino and acrylic. While it is listed as fingering, I’d personally classify it as light fingering, and I worked it on 2.5mm needles to get a fabric I was happy with (with 3mm the fabric was too airy, I don’t like cobwebby knits).

When I washed the finished garment, there was a pleasant and an unpleasant surprize. The unpleasant was that the yarn was extremely dirty. I don’t know if it was from sitting on the shelf for too long (Croatian yarn shops do not have the fastest turnover in the world, to put it nicely) or from the dyeing process, but I had to change water (with and without detergent) 5 times before it stopped going all black from dunking the garment in it. On the other hand, when it was finally clean, it blocked out very nicely, looking almost as if I had ironed it. Some of my other experiences with acrylic blends showed them very resistant to blocking, so I was happy that it was not the case with this yarn.

The pattern is Little sister’s dress by Tora Froseth Design. There is a Big sister’s dress pattern too, in larger sizes, but as opposed to this one it is not free, so I chose to modify the free one instead.

I was knitting for a 2-year-old who wears clothes for 3-year-olds. This took a lot of effort. Even finding what the standard measures for a 3-year-old are was extremely difficult: what with different clothing standards and impenetrable size denotations, I was completely lost. After having the child measured, I finally settled on some modifications. I increased the number of cast-on stitches and increase repeats and hoped for the best. I adjusted things as I went along. Unfortunately, it was only after having knit the whole thing that I remembered to compare my target measures with the measures given in the pattern for a 2-year-old. It turns out the pattern writers were also counting on a big 2-year-old. Their measures came out to exactly what I was aiming for. Hello, wasted effort! I am happy, though, with the fact that my dress has a larger neck opening, this will surely come in handy as the toddler grows, and hopefully some day she’ll be able to wear it as a nice pullover without hurting her ears in the process of getting it on. So some good came of it after all.

The pattern itself was very straightforward, easy to memorize and carry around with to work on during commutes and travels. I was pulling it out every chance I got and that was definitely a big plus, since there was a lot of mindless stockinette on tiny needles to be done!

The buttons were custom-made, by her own design, by my friend Maja. She made a bunch of different ones to choose from and I can tell you it took us a while to decide. When I say a while, I mean A WHILE. I’ve already reserved some of the ones we didn’t use for other projects and told her that she’ll need to make more of the ones we did use. I love both the idea and the execution of these, and I’m sure the little girl will love playing with them too!

I learned some crochet techniques with this project too. Firstly, I learned to make a simple crochet edging, which I used on the button band – it looked a lot untidier before the crochet treatment, and I’m happy to now have this technique at my beck and call. I also made little buttonhole loops out of crochet chains, which was super-easy, though of course the most annoying part was sewing them in and securing them. I do hope they stay put.

Finally, the photographs were done by another friend, more of whose work you can find here. This won’t be the end of our collaboration, and I’m looking forward to sharing more soon…

Still here? Well, I told you I had a lot to say! At least no one can tell me now that my blog is all photos, hehe! ;) Have a good week everyone!

challenge complete

Last week, I put together a little challenge on a total whim, and I have to say it worked better than I expected it to! Thank you everyone who participated. Seeing your accidental photos of knits and reading your stories about them kept me smiling all week… There were photos of handknits keeping people warm at festivals, while recovering from being sick, at birthday parties, on fishing trips, in everyday situations, and even as part of two wedding dresses! I really encourage you to look through all the comments and follow the links, I guarantee you’ll have fun.

And of course, I haven’t forgotten that I had promised a little reward for one lucky entrant. Well, the random number generator went with number 20, and that happened to be one of my favourite entries. Let Laurie speak for herself:

Since I wear my handknits almost every day, it’s pretty easy to find a picture of me wearing one of them. However, this is the best – It was taken yesterday afternoon and is a picture of me holding my first grandchild who was born Saturday afternoon. I’m wearing Romi Hill’s Merope Shawl, but obviously it is neither the shawl nor the wearer who is the star of this picture. :-)

Here’s the link, with Laurie and the little munchkin (and the knit, as if anyone will be looking at that ;) on photo five. Isn’t that too sweet? :) Congrats Laurie! I’ll be sending you a little surprise parcel as soon as I receive your address!

thoughts on an impulsive cast-on

1. It feels so good to be knitting with aran weight after weeks and weeks of light fingering.

2. It’s amazing how it literally grows in front of your eyes.

3. Ssquisheeeeee!

4. I can’t believe I considered making a full-sized, mid-length, long-sleeved dress for myself in that same light fingering yarn. A sleeveless, toddler-sized one felt like an eternity.

5. There are other things I should be working on right now, but I DON’T CARE. :)

thanks, dad

My dad works for the post office. He’s not a postman or anything, but he knows all the postmen and postwomen in our area. It doesn’t really mean much for me, apart from the regular “Say hello to your dad” I get from our postman when I’m signing for a letter or parcel. But when I heard the familiar buzz of the postman’s motorcycle near our house this morning, and when my dad called me downstairs minutes later, I grew curious.

Well, this is what was happening. The postman had a relatively large parcel for me, and normally he would’ve just delievered a notification and made me go to the post office (which is rather out of the way) to pick it up. But, since he knew it was for my dad (or his family), he decided to bring it along. It wasn’t heavy or anything, but rather bulky and understandably not something he would want to manouvre on a motorcycle on a regular basis. Oh, but if only he knew what goodness he was carrying around with him!

The wonderful designer Hannah Fettig organized a giveaway recently, generously offering several of her new patterns and some lovely yarn. I’ve only discovered Hannah’s blog recently and I love it, I always cheer up when I see there’s a new post! Also, the little baby pullover which I recently started on an impulse is made by one of her patterns – pure and awesome simplicity. And I’m sure I don’t even have to mention her numerous cardigan patterns – you are bound to know about them already.

The yarn that was included in the giveaway was Quince and Co. These yarns seem to be all the rage in the knitting world lately, and I’ve been dying to try them out. I even considered ordering some, but the current state of my bank account simply did not allow it. Thanks to Hannah (and quite a bit of luck!), I now have a full 400 grams to play with and try out to my heart’s content!

The colourway is called honey, but to me it looks like pure gold! I’ve given it loads of hugs already and we’re getting along quite nicely. :) The skeins feel pretty tightly put together, but there are significant hints of squishiness breaking through nonetheless. It’s 100% wool, but I haven’t been able to detect any scratchiness whatsoever!

I can’t wait to start knitting with this, but I also want to make sure it is used for a very special project, so I’ll give it careful thought. For now, just having it here has made my day bright and sunny! Thanks, dad. ;)

choices, choices

My toddler dress is steadily approaching the point where I’ll have to make choices on buttons…

I really don’t have a problem with making children’s clothes in what others would deem non-kiddie colours. I do think, however, that a big dark grey dress needs something to lift it up a bit. So I’m thinking bright colourful buttons! But which colour(s)? Maybe my nail-polish could help me test some options…

And then, also, should it be one button or two?

Or maybe even three? Choices, choices… :)

do you wear your knits?

Last weekend, during our standard Saturday-morning coffee date, my best friend was playing with her nice new camera. I was chewing on a large sandwich and I hadn’t washed my hair or put on any make-up, but I had no choice than to play model for her. Or rather, as she put it, “just ignore her and act natural”. Umm, yeah. :D

Contrary to my expectations, though, I ended up with some nice photos of me, and one very nice photo of my Scroll Lace Scarf. This hadn’t been planned, I had just thrown it on that morning, as on many other mornings. It reflected the fact that, while I keep very few of my knits to myself, I really do wear those that I keep.

So I thought we could have a little challenge! In the next week, post a photo of yourself wearing something you knit. The only rule is that the photo must not have been taken with the aim of showing off your knitted item, it should be a sort of everyday photo, or a photo from a special event, in which the knitted item just happened to find itself.

Put the link to your photo in the comments below, and let us know when the photo was taken and what you were doing. You have until the end of Friday, January 28! On Saturday, I’ll let the random number generator do its magic and put together a nice little prize for one lucky person!

You can post the photo on your blog, on Flickr (or similar sites), on your Ravelry project page. If none of those are available to you, Imageshack offers a nifty service which allows you to upload a single photo and get the link to it without having to register or anything.

All clear? Let’s play! :)