Free patterns have been rocking my world lately! I am not one to shy away from buying a pattern I really like, but my credit card has been sporting a bit of a sad face lately, and this has led me to explore more the free patterns I already had on my queue. One great source of free patterns is Pickles, a Norwegian duo who sells yarns and provides a bunch of free crafting resources. If you haven’t been there yet it’s definitely worth checking out. I like their philosophy very much: they always provide one size of a pattern for free, and they alternate between sizes “to make it fair for everyone”. That’s a very cool approach.
The project I’ve been eyeing the longest on their website is Oh, handsome – a toddler sweater pattern which comes both in a summer and a winter version. The one-size-free idea worked perfectly for me here, because I didn’t have a specific recipient intended for the sweater – I just wanted to try out the pattern. So I just knit whichever the free size was (in this case, it was the 2-year-old size).
The reviews of this pattern on Ravelry weren’t all that bright, though. Many different people had many different complaints, but I decided to brave it, thinking that I would solve any snags as I went (and encouraged by my success in dealing with this poorly written free pattern). In the end, however, I had no major difficulties. (And if you followed that link above, you know I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you if I had. ;)) There were a few places where it could have been polished out a bit, things that were just plain impractical – like the bit where you separate the fronts and the back, which has been widely commented on, and rightly so, but which takes about 15 seconds of thinking to come up with a better way of doing it. Overall, there was nothing that would give one much headache and I would recommend this pattern without hesitation.
The one thing that could be improved is the formatting. Before setting off to knit, I copypasted everything into a Word document, removed all the unnecessary bits and converted all measurements to centimeters. I ended up with a pattern that fit on half of an A4 page and which was much easier to follow visually than the one on the website. But you could say that that’s just personal preference. I tend to do that with patterns a lot.
If you look at my project page, you’ll notice a fair amount of modifications. Their purpose, however, was not to change the design (I really loved it as it is), but to reduce the amount of seaming as much as possible. In the end, the only thing I had to seam was the bottom of the collar, and it pleased me very much that I had been so clever with that! If you’d like to make this pattern and you’re as lazy about seaming as I am, I think you could find my notes helpful. Let me know if anything needs clarifying.
The detail that I am very proud of are the sleeves. Look, look how nicely set in they are! :) Instead of knitting them separately and then attaching them (which I dread), I went in the opposite direction, picking up stitches at the armhole and knitting down. I was a bit too lazy to do the calculations for short rows, so my sleeves don’t have shoulder cap shaping like proper set-in sleeves, but I reckon it doesn’t matter too much on a sweater for a 2-year-old. The good thing about baby and toddler sweaters is that perfect fitting does not matter as much as it does on adult ones!
Oh, and then there’s the collar. I looooove the collar. Well, let’s be honest, it’s the only interesting bit of the sweater – the rest of it is basically just a plain vanilla stockinette sweater. The collar is so distinguished though. So cool. So unusual for a toddler garment. So so SO! I am completely in love with it.
And the best part is that it would probably even eliminate the need for a scarf, since it goes high up the neck and closes in snugly. Thus putting the dot on the i of this perfect little warm winter sweater. Now just to find a model… :)